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The Wall Street Journal: More Earnings Roll In; Senate May Pass Energy Bill

EXTRACT: Oil Profits Gush: Exxon Mobil’s profit jumped 36%, to $10.36 billion, the oil company’s second-highest quarterly profit ever. Shell’s profit rose 40%, to $7.32 billion. BP’s earnings jumped 30%, to $7.27 billion as the firm unveiled measures to improve U.S. operations following safety and regulatory problems. Chevron reported an 18% rise in profit to $4.35 billion on surging oil prices.

THE ARTICLE

July 30, 2006

INVESTOR’S CALENDAR

This Week

Profit Patrol: Look for earnings reports from United Airlines’ parent UAL tomorrow; Archer-Daniels-Midland, Burger King, Eastman Kodak and Verizon Tuesday; Procter & Gamble and Starbucks Wednesday; Tyco International and Unilever Thursday, and Toyota Motor Friday.

Details, Details: When Time Warner releases its earnings Wednesday, it may also offer details of AOL’s hotly anticipated conversion from a subscription service to a free Web portal. Analysts say such a move could cost AOL $1.8 billion in lost subscription fees.
 
Cadillac’s New Pitch: General Motors’ Cadillac unit will launch a new ad campaign to try to lure young people, women and baby boomers to the luxury car brand.

Rate Actions Abroad: The European Central Bank may raise interest rates by a quarter-point to 3% this week. Also, surging prices in Australia nearly cement the case for a rise there to 6% from 5.75%.

Exploring in the Gulf: The Senate may pass a bill to open 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural-gas exploration.

Economic Updates: Data on the U.S. savings rate in June will come out Tuesday, the same day the Institute for Supply Management reports on manufacturing conditions for July. Friday brings job news.

Last Week

Stocks Surge: Some strong earnings news and hopes the Federal Reserve will stop raising rates contributed to a 3.2% advance by the Dow Jones Industrial Average — the best week in more than a year. So far in 2006, the Dow industrials are up 4.7%. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 3.7% for the week but is down 5% this year.

Hospital Chain Sells: Hospital operator HCA agreed to be acquired by an investor group in a $21 billion buyout, one of the largest ever.

H-P Expands: Hewlett-Packard said it will buy business-software maker Mercury Interactive for $4.5 billion, in the computer maker’s first big acquisition under Chief Executive Mark Hurd.

U.S. Growth Slows: The U.S. economy slowed more than expected in the second quarter, growing at a 2.5% annual rate as consumers and businesses tightened their belts. This compares with the first quarter’s roaring 5.6% pace.

Oil Profits Gush: Exxon Mobil’s profit jumped 36%, to $10.36 billion, the oil company’s second-highest quarterly profit ever. Shell’s profit rose 40%, to $7.32 billion. BP’s earnings jumped 30%, to $7.27 billion as the firm unveiled measures to improve U.S. operations following safety and regulatory problems. Chevron reported an 18% rise in profit to $4.35 billion on surging oil prices.

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