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Automaker more than doubles its quarterly profit

TOKYO - Toyota's quarterly profit more than doubled to 313.9 billion yen ($3.2 billion) as cost cuts and better sales worked with a weakening yen to add momentum to the automaker's comeback.

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Massachusetts-based A123 Systems has been one of the rising stars of the lithium battery field in the last several years. In spite of that, the company that was started by a team of MIT researchers has struggled to raise cash to manufacture automotive cells in the United States.

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We're not sure if this report should be filed in the Good News folder or the Bad. Harley-Davidson shares jumped an impressive six percent today to their highest level in more than four months. Why? Apparently, the increased activity was spurred by speculation of a possible takeover by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

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On the surface, at least, news that a company lost $1.4 billion wouldn't normally be greeted as good news by Wall Street. However, the Ford Motor company's just-published quarterly earning reports have done just that, with the stock trading 15% ahead of yesterday and the entire Dow Jones stock market perking up at the news.

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Ford Motor Company was quick to issue a brief statement regarding the meeting that took place between its CEO, Alan Mulally, and executives from Toyota last week in Japan in order to quell speculation of an alliance or partnership, but news of the meeting had a very positive effect on the Blue Oval's share price today, which rose to a three week high of $7.59, up about 1.3 percent or 10 percent compared to yesterday. Ford's stock began to rise around noon yesterday as news of the meeting began t

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Yesterday the price of GM stock was up $1.05 or 4.46 percent on news that Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache had raised his rating on the stock up to "hold" from "sell". Why the change of heart? Monday's announcement that GM had broke a five-quarter losing streak with a Q1 2006 earning of $445 million was responsible. The sudden gush of black ink in the books was a result of GM's health-care settlement with Delphi, reportedly worth $681 million, being excluded from the company's balance sheet.

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"Stand by your man" might be an appropriate theme song for General Motors these days. Just a few days after GM's board of directors expressed their support of CEO Rick Wagoner, GM dealers have come out to say that they, too, support the company's big cheese, taking out a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal last Friday. Investors aren't so happy, however, which has put Rick on the interview circuit to defend his record. Let's hope the "bold steps" the dealers see

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