China Severs Its Currency's Link to Dollar

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BEIJING (AP) _ China dropped its politically volatile policy of linking its currency to the U.S. dollar but retained controls on its exchange rate, switching the link to a basket of foreign currencies in a move that could push up the price of Chinese exports to the United States and Europe.

Jobless Claims Post Biggest Dip in 2 1/2 Years

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits plunged by the largest amount in 2 1/2 years last week, reflecting a slowdown in layoffs in the auto industry.

Stocks Are Set to Open Mixed on Data

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NEW YORK (AP) _ U.S. stock futures are mixed early Thursday after stocks on Wall Street ended higher Wednesday. Traders will be busy digesting a continued load of corporate earnings as well as jobless claims and leading-indicators data and the July Philadelphia Fed regional survey.

Coca-Cola Posts Q2 Profit on Revenue Gains

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ATLANTA (AP) _ The Coca-Cola Co., the world's largest beverage maker, reported a 9 percent jump in second-quarter profit on solid gains in revenue, handily beating Wall Street expectations.

Merck Q2 Earnings Plunge on Charge

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WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. _ Drug maker Merck & Co. said Thursday that its second-quarter profit fell 59 percent on a charge for the repatriation of about $15 billion in foreign profits and the lack of sales of the recalled painkiller Vioxx.

McDonald's Q2 Profits Drop on Tax Charge

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CHICAGO (AP) _ McDonald's Corp. reported a 10 percent drop in second-quarter earnings Thursday due to taxes from repatriating international profits but extended its momentum with a modest gain in operating income.

UPS Posts Q2 Profit Jump on Revenue Growth

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ATLANTA (AP) _ UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, reported a more than 20 percent jump Thursday in second-quarter profit on strong growth in revenue.

Delta Reports Narrower Second-Quarter Loss

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ATLANTA (AP) _ Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, said its second-quarter loss narrowed significantly compared to a year ago, but persistently high fuel prices have limited the impact of solid gains in revenue.

Caterpillar Q2 Profit Rises on Sales

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PEORIA, Ill. (AP) _ Caterpillar Inc., a maker of bulldozers and other heavy equipment, said Thursday its second-quarter profit rose sharply as improved volume and prices lifted sales for the period.

Whirlpool Q2 Profit Falls on Oil Costs

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. on Thursday said its second-quarter profit slid 9 percent, weighed down by sharply higher prices for oil and other materials, and predicted oil-related costs would land near the high end of its forecast.