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February 27, 2008 > Business Highlights

Business Highlights

Submitted By AP Wire Service

NEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street staged a dramatic turnaround Friday, shooting higher in the last half-hour of trading after word that a bailout plan for troubled bond insurer Ambac Financial could be announced next week. The major indexes were narrowly mixed following a week of choppy trading.

CNBC reported shortly before the closing bell that a plan to help shore up the finances of Ambac Financial Group Inc. could be announced Monday or Tuesday. Ambac shares jumped on the report and finished up $1.48, or 16 percent, at $10.71.

The market's turnaround came after nearly two full days of selling. The Dow Jones industrial average had been down nearly 130 points, but by the close, showed a 225-point reversal from its lows of the session.

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A plan to bail out the struggling bond insurer Ambac Financial Group Inc. could be announced Monday or Tuesday, CNBC reported Friday, citing bankers working on the deal.

There is a consortium of banks _ including Citigroup Inc., UBS AG, Wachovia Corp. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC _ working with the New York State Insurance Department on a possible solution to the Ambac's problems, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press.

Ambac shares jumped late Friday and finished up $1.48, or 16 percent, at $10.71.

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ A drug made by Genentech received federal approval on Friday to treat breast cancer, a decision that could represent a major shift in standards for assessing the effectiveness of cancer medicines.

Going against the recommendation of its advisory panel, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Genentech's Avastin, which is already approved for treating lung and colon cancer, based on findings that it slowed tumor growth.

Advocates for breast cancer patients applauded the ruling.

Genentech said FDA granted the drug preliminary approval and the company will have to submit additional data.

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DETROIT (AP) _ The United Auto Workers and General Motors Corp. have taken a big legal step toward shifting billions in retiree health care costs from the automaker to an independent trust fund.

The union and attorneys representing several retirees sued GM on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit in an effort to get court approval of the change. It would cover about 500,000 GM retirees and spouses, plus current UAW workers when they retire.

The lawsuit is not a hostile action. GM will not oppose its major points and joined the UAW and retirees in filing a settlement agreement that would govern how the trust would be run.

NEW YORK (AP) _ Gas prices jumped Friday to their highest level since June, a possible preview of what many analysts believe will be a record spike in pump prices this spring.

But the current price surge could be short-lived. While gasoline has risen sharply in recent days in response to oil's dramatic climb to a new record above $101 a barrel, gas supplies have quietly grown to their highest level in 14 years.

At the pump, gas prices rose 2.9 cents overnight to a national average of $3.115 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. That was the highest since June 8.

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