About four stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.5 billion shares.

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GE breaks string of profit drops but revenue falls

Cost cutting and an improved financial business helped General Electric Co. post its first increase in quarterly profit since 2007 on Friday, but sales remained sluggish for the industrial and financial giant.

The better earnings ended a long string of declines at the Fairfield, Conn.-based company, which makes everything from refrigerators to jet engines. GE's outlook was largely upbeat, helped by improving orders and lower losses and its GE Capital lending unit. It sees profits continuing to grow next year.

But the second-quarter results also reflect challenges posed to big companies by the nation's halting recovery. GE's revenue slipped 4 percent as industries like transportation were down.

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China reduces US Treasury debt holdings in May

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ China reduced its holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in May as total foreign holdings of government debt posted a slight increase.

China's holdings fell by $32.5 billion to $867.7 billion, the Treasury reported Friday.

The report said that total holdings of Treasury securities edged up $5.8 billion to $3.96 trillion in May, a slight increase of 0.1 percent compared to April.

The Treasury said that net purchases of long-term securities, a category that covers not only U.S. government debt but also debt of U.S. companies, increased by $35.4 billion in May. That followed bigger gains of $81.5 billion in April and $141.4 billion in March.

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Gannett's stock dives after 2Q results disappoint

Gannett Co., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, moved closer to ending a 3 ½-year slump in print advertising during the second quarter. But it still isn't feeling confident enough to predict when the biggest part of its business will begin to grow again.

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