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AP Financial News Summary at 12:29 p.m. EDT

July 5, 2006

Enron Founder Kenneth Lay Dies at 64

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, died Wednesday in Aspen, Colo. He was 64.

Dow, Nasdaq Stumble in Midday Trading

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Concerns over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and high oil prices pressured stocks Wednesday and added to Wall Street’s worries about the economy and interest rates.

Factory Orders Up by 0.7 Percent in May

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Orders to U.S. factories for manufactured goods rebounded in May following a big decline in the previous month as strengthened demand for petroleum and chemicals offset weakness in commercial aircraft and autos.

Oil Prices Jump on Geopolitical Concerns

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LONDON (AP) _ Brent crude rose and Nymex futures pared their losses Wednesday after North Korea test-launched several missiles, bringing geopolitical concerns back in focus.

GM Board of Directors to Meet by Phone

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DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. said Wednesday its board of directors will meet by telephone Friday, a week after dissident shareholder Kirk Kerkorian disclosed his efforts to link the company with foreign competitors Renault and Nissan.

Bank of China Shares Up in Shanghai Debut

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SHANGHAI, China (AP) _ Bank of China’s shares made a strong debut Wednesday in Shanghai, surging 23 percent in the mainland’s biggest initial public offering.

German Cabinet Approves 2007 Budget

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BERLIN (AP) _ Germany’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a 2007 budget that foresees trimming the deficit to comply with European Union rules, and the finance minister said Berlin likely would hit the target this year.

Japan Stocks Drop After Missile Launches

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TOKYO (AP) _ North Korea’s brazen missile tests sent Japanese stocks lower Wednesday, snapping a four-day winning streak, and the dollar higher. Auto, electronics and retail shares led the market’s decline.

Jackson Leads Anti-BP March Near Refinery

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TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) _ The Rev. Jesse Jackson brought his protest of BP PLC to the site of one of the state’s worst refinery accidents Tuesday to speak against what he calls price gouging, discriminatory hiring practices and unsafe working conditions at the company.

EU: Euronext-NYSE Should Retain EU Rules

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Euronext NV’s exchanges should continue to operate under EU financial rules if a takeover bid from the owner of the New York Stock Exchange Group Inc. succeeds, the European Union’s financial services chief said Wednesday.

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