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AP Financial News Summary at 4:14 p.m. EDT

May 26, 2006

Dow Closes Up 68, Nasdaq Finishes Up 12

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street extended its rebound to a third session Friday, ending with a moderate advance after personal consumption data bolstered the outlook for the economy and interest rates.

Inflation Rises Above Fed Comfort Zone

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumer spending grew in April at the fastest pace in three months but much of that spending went to pay for higher gasoline prices. Rising price pressures pushed a key gauge of inflation favored by the Federal Reserve up by the largest amount in 13 months.

Lay Says He’s ‘Shocked’ at Enron Verdict

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were known as visionaries, hands-on executives, corporate titans directing the high-flying ship at Wall Street darling Enron Corp. Add another title: convicted felons.

Oil Prices Higher Ahead of Long Weekend

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil prices edged higher Friday ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the U.S. summer driving season.

Martha Stewart to Contest SEC Charges

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Martha Stewart continues to fight to clear her name. Stewart, who completed a five-month prison sentence a year ago for lying about her sale of ImClone stock, has decided to fight rather than settle civil insider trading charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Court Showdown Looms Over Delta Pay Cuts

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ATLANTA (AP) _ Delta Air Lines Inc.’s quest for another round of wage cuts from its pilots has hit some turbulence in an unlikely place _ the bankruptcy court.

The Times of London to Launch U.S. Edition

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LONDON (AP) _ Rupert Murdoch’s London-based The Times newspaper said Friday it will launch a U.S. edition next month as part of a push to make the paper an international brand, entering a competitive New York market at a challenging time in the newspaper industry.

Venezuela Aids Bolivia Gas Nationalization

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SHINAHOTA, Bolivia (AP) _ Oil-rich Venezuela’s increasing influence in Bolivia will be sealed with a penstroke Friday when presidents Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales sign another set of accords, this time to secure Venezuela’s role in Bolivia’s recently nationalized energy industry.

Arcelor Reaches Deal With Severstal

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Arcelor SA, fighting a hostile bid from Mittal Steel Co., said Friday it reached a deal that would give it a controlling stake in Russia’s largest steelmaker Severstal and 1.25 billion euros ($1.59 billion) in cash in exchange for 32 percent of Arcelor.

Edouard Michelin Dies in Boating Accident

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PARIS (AP) _ Edouard Michelin, the co-managing partner of the French tire company that bears his family name, was killed Friday in a boating accident, officials said.

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