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AP Financial News Summary at 7:56 p.m. EST

March 23, 2006

GM, Delphi Offer Buyouts, Early Retirement

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DETROIT (AP) _ In one of the largest buyout programs ever, more than 125,000 hourly workers of General Motors Corp. and auto supplier Delphi Corp. are being offered up to $140,000 to give up their jobs to help cut the companies’ crippling labor costs.

Dow Climbs to Finish at New 5-Year High

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks rose Wednesday on upbeat news from big companies: a patent settlement by Bristol-Myers Squibb, strong earnings from Morgan Stanley and a cost-cutting deal between General Motors Corp., Delphi Corp. and the United Auto Workers. The gains were enough to push the Dow Jones industrial average to a new five-year high.

Glisan: Lay Worried About Enron Problems

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay worried in 2001 that the company’s mounting financial problems would jeopardize its credit rating and inquired about managing its accounting to avoid a downgrade, a former Enron treasurer testified Wednesday.

Adobe Systems 1Q Profit Falls 31 Percent

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Adobe Systems Inc., which makes software such as Acrobat for creating digital documents, said Wednesday its first-quarter profit fell 31 percent, due largely to expenses from its acquisition of Macromedia.

Morgan Stanley 1Q Net Income Up to $1.64B

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Net income at Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley rose 17 percent in its fiscal first quarter on record revenues stemming from growth in both investment banking and fixed-income trading.

Microsoft Shares Drop on Windows Delay

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Shares of Microsoft Corp. fell Wednesday after the software maker delayed the consumer release of its new operating system until January 2007, after the holiday shopping season.

Delta Pilots Union Affirms Strike Promise

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WASHINGTON (AP) _The head of the pilots union at embattled Delta Air Lines Inc. affirmed Wednesday the union’s promise to strike if pay cuts are imposed on the 6,000 pilots while urging the two sides to reach agreement.

FedEx Posts 35 Percent Rise in 3Q Profit

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Shipping company FedEx Corp. on Wednesday said its profit rose 35 percent in the third quarter, lifted by continued growth of business abroad and holding down costs.

KB Home 1Q Profit Soars on Higher Revenues

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ KB Home, one of the nation’s biggest homebuilders, said Wednesday that its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 42 percent on higher revenues and improved margins, but reported a 12 percent drop in net home orders.

Scientist: Merck Didn’t Try to Hide Data

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ A scientist who helped develop the painkiller Vioxx rejected assertions by a plaintiff’s lawyer Wednesday that Merck & Co. actively tried to conceal from regulators unfavorable data about the popular arthritis drug’s potential heart safety problems.

Oil Futures Fall, Dragged Down by Gasoline

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Crude-oil futures fell Wednesday, dragged down by a steep drop in gasoline, even though fresh U.S. government data showed domestic supplies of oil and gasoline shrank last week.

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