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AP Financial News Summary at 10:56 a.m. EDT

September 18, 2006

GM, Ford Could Merge or Form Alliance

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DETROIT (AP) _ Executives of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have discussed a possible merger or alliance, the trade journal Automotive News reported Monday. Both companies declined comment.

Company: Organic Spinach Not to Blame

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The company whose fresh spinach was linked to an E. coli outbreak that’s sickened at least 109 people said its organic products had been cleared of suspicion, while health officials continued working to pinpoint the bacteria source.

Trade Deficit Is 2nd Highest Ever

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ America’s deficit in the broadest measure of foreign trade increased in the spring to the second highest level in history, reflecting a big jump in payments for foreign oil.

Stocks Dip As Traders Await Fed Meeting

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street was little changed in early trading Monday as investors made few big moves while they awaited Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting.

Home Depot Is Hiring 1,000 New Employees

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ATLANTA (AP) _ The Home Depot Inc., the nation’s largest home improvement store chain, says it is hiring more than 1,000 new employees across the country as part of its latest effort to improve its stores.

Warner Distribute Videos Through YouTube

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Warner Music Group Corp. has agreed to distribute and license its copyrighted songs and other material through online video trendsetter YouTube Inc., marking another significant step in the entertainment industry’s migration to the Internet.

Revlon’s Stahl Resigns As President, CEO

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Cosmetics company Revlon Inc. on Monday said Jack Stahl has resigned as president and chief executive to pursue other interests.

Crude Oil Prices Rise

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LONDON (AP) _ Oil prices rose Monday, reflecting the market’s belief that OPEC may trim output to bolster prices against lower consumption forecasts.

Japanese Line Up for American Beef

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TOKYO (AP) _ The U.S. Ambassador was among customers thronging a major Japanese fast-food chain Monday to savor the return of a popular rice dish topped with American beef that was off the menu for more than two years due to mad cow fears.

Toyota Moves to Unseat GM, Outpace Ford

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TOKYO (AP) _ Toyota Motor Corp. is quickening its quest to unseat ailing rival General Motors Corp. as the world’s biggest automaker and widen its lead over Ford Motor Co. with reported plans to boost overseas production by 40 percent to 5 million vehicles by 2008 and blueprints for higher output in North America.

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