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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: End of an Auto Sale: Exxon Mobil and Shell said earnings climbed more than 30% amid soaring oil prices, but both saw production decline; Sunday July 31, 2005


GM Discount Ends: General Motors plans to end its successful "employee discounts for everyone" promotion this week. The company also signaled that it will embark on a new pricing strategy for 2006 models that will attempt to focus on permanently lower sticker prices instead of big rebates.

Auto Sales: Tomorrow we find out what impact the Big Three's discount programs have had, as the July motor-vehicle sales figures come out. Results could influence whether Ford and Chrysler extend their discount programs into August.

Jobs Report: The July employment report on Friday is the other big economic report of the week. Job growth has been erratic so far this year, with big swings from month to month, although the average growth is fairly solid and the unemployment rate has fallen to 5%.

More Earnings: The flood of quarterly earnings reports slows to a trickle, but some major companies reporting include Coach and Marsh & McLennan on Tuesday, Time Warner and Toyota on Wednesday, and Viacom on Thursday.


Stocks Mixed: The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, ending four consecutive weeks of gains, and is now down 1.3% for the year so far. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2%, ending the month 6.2% higher and leaving it 0.4% higher year to date.

[In the Market]

Murdoch Resigns: News Corp. said Lachlan Murdoch, a son and possible corporate heir to Rupert Murdoch, resigned from his executive roles -- a surprise move that's likely to fuel speculation over succession at one of the world's largest media companies.

Earnings Roundup: Verizon's quarterly net income jumped 18% from a year earlier while revenue was up 4.6%; Amazon's profit fell 32% due to an income-tax expense, but revenue rose 26%; Exxon Mobil and Shell said earnings climbed more than 30% amid soaring oil prices, but both saw production decline; Sony swung to a $64.6 million loss and slashed its full-year profit outlook by 88%; Boeing boosted its yearly forecast, even as net income fell 6.8% due to a charge; DuPont's net income doubled, but the company lowered its outlook; American Express said net income rose 16% due to strong cardholder spending.

Changes at Chrysler: DaimlerChrysler CEO Jurgen Schrempp said he plans to retire at the end of 2005, three years before his contract was set to expire. The announcement came as the auto maker posted mixed results and Deutsche Bank began to sell some 35 million DaimlerChrysler shares.

Briefly: The House narrowly passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, after the president and vice president appealed to members who were uneasy at constituents' discontent with globalization's effect on U.S. jobs and economic security...Teva plans to buy Ivax for $7.4 billion, creating the largest generic-drug company... The U.S. economy grew at a 3.4% annual rate in the second quarter.

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