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AP Financial News Summary at 12:18 p.m. EDT

April 27, 2006

Bernanke: Fed May Give Rate Hikes a Rest

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday that while another interest rate increase may be needed to keep inflation in check, the central bank may soon relax its nearly 2-year credit-tightening campaign.

Exxon Quarterly Profit 5th Highest Ever

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DALLAS (AP) _ Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest oil company, reported Thursday the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history, posting gains from higher oil prices that were likely to stoke the furor over outsized oil company earnings.

Jackpot: Harrah’s 1Q Income Jumps 75 Pct.

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LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the world’s largest casino operator, on Thursday said its acquisition of rival Caesars helped lift first-quarter net income 75 percent, topping Wall Street views.

China Rate Hike Aims to Slow Economy

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BEIJING (AP) _ China’s central bank raised interest rates Thursday in the government’s strongest move yet to cool an economy verging on overheating. The news sent resource stocks, oil and commodity prices lower around the world.

Big 3 Automakers to Meet With Bush

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Leaders of the Big Three U.S. automakers plan to meet with President Bush at the White House next month to discuss issues faced by the industry, officials said Thursday.

Prosecutors Aim to Undermine Lay’s Claims

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Federal prosecutors aimed on Thursday to undermine Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay’s testimony that short-sellers were partly to blame for Enron’s collapse in 2001 by showing that Lay’s own son bet Enron’s stock would drop.

Stocks Gain Ground on Bernanke Comments

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks climbed higher Thursday, as Wall Street brushed aside concerns about a Chinese interest rate hike to focus on comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that a pause in U.S. rate increases may be ahead.

Oil Prices Fall for 4th Consecutive Day

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Oil prices fell for the fourth straight day on Thursday, dipping below $72 a barrel after China sought to cool its economic growth by raising a key interest rate and the World Bank resolved a dispute with Chad, which had threatened to shut off an oil pipeline.

Comcast 1Q Profit More Than Triples

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable TV operator, said Thursday its net income for the first quarter more than tripled, buoyed by strength across all its business lines including once-lagging digital voice.

XM’s Loss Widens; Feds Probe Its Marketing

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NEW YORK (AP) _ XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. reported a wider first-quarter loss Thursday and disclosed that federal regulators were probing its marketing practices. Its shares fell nearly 4 percent in morning trading.

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