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AP Financial News Summary at 5:19 p.m. EDT

April 23, 2006

Gas Prices Up Nearly a Quarter in 2 Weeks

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CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) _ Retail gas prices across the country jumped an average of nearly a quarter per gallon in the past two weeks, according to a survey released Sunday.

Wal-Mart Evolves Into Big Political Issue

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ There is no candidate. There are no ballots. There won’t be an Election Day. And yet it may be the hottest, highest-stakes political contest in America today. It’s the campaign against Wal-Mart.

Ex-CEO Lay Will Testify in Enron Trial

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay has embraced myriad roles in his life: economist, business visionary, Houston booster, philanthropist and smooth political gladhander among them. On Monday, he’ll become his most important witness.

GDP Data Could Zap Wall Street Excitement

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Investors will likely enjoy another round of solid earnings reports this week, but those numbers could be easily ignored as the market shifts its focus back to the economy.

Finance Leaders OK Plans for Oil Hike

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Finance ministers endorsed proposals Sunday intended to make it easier for international lending institutions to deal with soaring oil prices, trade gaps and other problems that threaten to derail growth.

Plus Sizes Becoming More Mainstream

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KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (AP) _ Kathy Curtis waded through a sea of colorful camisoles, gypsy skirts and lacy tees at Lane Bryant, shopping for a deal.

Pioneering Wi-Fi City Sees Startup Woes

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ST. CLOUD, Fla. (AP) _ Joe Lusardi’s friends back in New York couldn’t believe it when he told them he’d have free Internet access through this city’s new Wi-Fi network. It’s free all right, but residents are, to some extent, getting what they pay for.

Boeing Makes Last S. Calif. Passenger Jet

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LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ The last Boeing 717 has left the factory. The slender airliner, trailed by dozens of the workers who built it, was rolled out before dawn last week and towed across a boulevard to Long Beach Airport.

IKEA Tries to Furnish Japan, Again

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ IKEA is hoping to be big in Japan by thinking small.

Canadian Company Finds Treasure in Junk

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ As a franchise operator of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Calgary’s Dave Harrop thought he’d just be hauling away other people’s garbage _ not bona fide treasures that would lead to a lucrative lifestyle.

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