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Around the business world

Daily Staff Report

Exxon Mobil second quarter profit jumps to second highest ever for U.S. company: DALLAS – Exxon Mobil Corp. posted the second largest quarterly profit ever announced by a publicly traded U.S. company. With oil prices hovering around $75 a barrel, the world’s biggest oil company could spend the rest of the year breaking other profit records.DaimlerChrysler profit up as Mercedes gains, while Chrysler slumps: DETROIT – A turnaround at Mercedes helped push DaimlerChrysler AG’s second-quarter profits to more than double the same period last year. The numbers would have been far better without a dramatic profit slide at the Chrysler Group.Bristol-Myers says federal investigators probing patent settlement: NEW YORK – Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. was hit with a criminal antitrust probe over a patent settlement with a generic competitor as its profit falls 33 percent, sending its stock down nearly 6 percent. AstraZeneca PLC, meanwhile, said its second-quarter profit grew 31 percent on strong sales of key drugs like cholesterol cutter Crestor.Northrop Grumman, Raytheon record strong second quarter profits: LOS ANGELES – Defense contractors Northrop Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co. posted strong second quarter profits, joining fellow defense firms Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. in raising their earnings outlook for the full year.Cigarette maker funding pro-smoking groups: RALEIGH – In Arizona, they’re called the Non-Smoker Protection Committee. In Ohio, it’s simply Smokeless Ohio. Anti-smoking advocates? Hardly. Both groups are staunchly pro-tobacco, and both get funding from North Carolina-based cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc., which plans to spend $40 million this year fighting proposed smoking bans in those states, as well as ballot initiatives to raise cigarette taxes in California and Missouri.Tobacco vaccine may help smokers quit: MADISON, Wis. – Doctors are testing a radical new way to help smokers quit: a shot that “immunizes” them against the nicotine rush.Airlines working to avooide jet fuel shortages: WASHINGTON – After narrowly avoiding jet-fuel shortages at several big airports last summer, some U.S. airlines are stepping up investments in fuel storage and pipelines, though executives say the industry is still highly vulnerable. Story page B34Cell phones, vandalism driving pay phones into extinction: NEW YORK – A stroll in Manhattan reveals an ugly picture of the state of the pay phone these days. Phones are sticky, beat up and scarred, and some don’t work at all. With rising cell phone use and vandalism and neglect taking their toll, pay phones are disappearing. Advocates for the poor are speaking out against their disappearance.New home sales fall in June while inventory hits record high: WASHINGTON – Sales of new homes fell in June by the largest amount in four months while the inventory of unsold homes climbed to a record high, providing further evidence that the once-booming housing sector is slowing.Exxon Mobil lifts stock market, oil prices also up: NEW YORK – Soaring earnings at Exxon Mobil Corp. lifted stocks as investors build on the market’s gains from earlier in the week. Oil prices rose as Shell said militant attacks and a pipeline leak in Nigeria may prevent it from meeting its production obligations for July and August. Traders also were watching Middle East developments.Mortgage fall slightly: NEW YORK – Mortgage rates decline slightly this week as investors grow more hopeful that the Federal Reserve’s long string of rate hikes is drawing to a close. Story page B36Look for a pay bump this summer: NEW YORK – U.S. employers are planning to increase base salaries by 3.7 percent this year, just a bit higher than the average 3.6 percent rise they granted in 2005, according to a survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. For 2007, pay raises are expected to stay at 3.7 percent. Instead of hiking base pay, companies are depending more on bonuses and cash incentives to retain employees.Makers of ‘Kazaa’ downloading software settle global piracy lawsuits: WASHINGTON – The company that produced software called “Kazaa,” which made it simple for millions of computer users to download music and movies over the Internet, agreed to pay more than $115 million to the entertainment industry to settle global piracy lawsuits, the industry said.Struggling Japanese electronics makers show some signs of recovery: TOKYO – Japan’s electronics companies made some headway in their quarterly earnings results, with Sony and NEC swinging back to profitability due to cost cuts and healthy sales as they battle competition from other Asian rivals.Financial analysts gather at Microsoft: REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer conceded there are questions about the software maker’s future, but he told financial analysts he believes it has as much potential as ever. With co-founder Bill Gates scheduled to scale back his own duties, Ballmer called it “the beginning of a new era for Microsoft Corp.”Intel launches Core 2 Duo chip for desktop PCs: SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Intel Corp. unveiled its most important product family in six years as the world’s biggest chip maker tried to regain ground lost to Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Intel’s Core 2 Duo features a new design that delivers better performance and lower power consumption than its previous architecture.Comcast earnings up 7 percent: NEW YORK – Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable TV operator, says its second-quarter net income rose 7 percent from a year ago, highlighted by a leap in subscribers for its Internet telephone service. China’s prime minister seeks to curb economic growth: BEIJING – China’s premier called for urgent steps to prevent economic overheating, as the government forecasts more double-digit growth in the next quarter, adding to pressure for new measures to avert a financial crisis.No merger for EMI: LONDON – EMI Group PLC abandoned plans to merge with Warner Music Group Corp., following a recent antitrust ruling annulling authorization of another music industry merger.Aetna hits one-year low: NEW YORK – Shares of Aetna Inc., one of the nation’s largest health insurers, plunged to a new 52-week low after the company reports second-quarter earnings dipped 1 percent due to growing costs from large claims and competitive pressures.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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