Dollar Gains Against Euro

The dollar rose to $1.19 per euro for the first time since May 2004 on speculation that reports this week will show an acceleration in U.S. job growth, an expansion in services industries and a gain in factory orders.

U.S. currency also strengthened versus the British pound, Swiss franc and Swedish krona. The dollar was at 111.63 yen, from 111.78, having traded as high as 111.89, the strongest since August.

The U.S. currency is up 14 percent against the euro this year and 8.8 percent against the yen.


Traders Bet Oil Will Hit $80

Oil prices may increase to $80 a barrel this year, options contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange show. Nymex data show 6,900 options contracts outstanding that allow buyers to purchase oil for December delivery at $80 a barrel.

Investors are speculating that Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won't produce enough oil to compensate for any disruption to supplies. Oil prices have risen partly on concern that a dispute over Iran's nuclear program to generate electricity may lead to conflict with the United States and disrupt supplies from the Middle East.


GE to Sell Stake in India Project

General Electric agreed to sell its stake in a $3 billion power project in India once owned by Enron. The 42.5 percent stake in Dabhol Power will be sold to a unit of Maharashtra State Electricity Board for $145 million. The board was the plant's sole customer.

The plant closed after the board stopped paying its bills, saying prices were too high. GE will withdraw all lawsuits filed against the Indian government pertaining to the plant, including an arbitration claim for as much as $6 billion, and help restart the plant, the company said. The government was a guarantor to Dabhol Power.


Merck Asks to Delay Trial

Merck asked a judge to delay the first wrongful-death trial over its pain reliever Vioxx, saying it cannot receive a fair trial if the Texas case begins next week as scheduled.

The company wants the trial postponed for at least 60 days, citing recent publicity about the drug. A hearing on Merck's motion is scheduled for today in Angleton, Tex., said Mark Lanier, a lawyer for a woman suing Merck over her husband's death in 2001. Lanier said he will oppose a delay.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

The dollar rose yesterday to its highest point against the euro since spring 2004.