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Gasoline prices have peaked. Pump prices rose relentlessly from January through April, pushing average gas prices above $3.90 a gallon and taxing families' budgets. Some forecasters expected a $5 peak by the time families got on the road for summer vacation. But prices are expected to drop by 10 cents by next week, thanks to a recent drop in oil and wholesale gas prices and frugality at the pump. By Chris Kahn and Sandy Shore.

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AP photos, interactive.


NEW YORK â¿¿ U.S. companies are posting higher profits than nearly anyone expected, and doing so in numbers not seen in more than a decade. Yet stocks have been falling. One reason is that those expectations had been lowered so much, it's hard to get excited. A look at the curious, and sometimes unpredictable, impact of higher profits on stocks and the economy. By Bernard Condon.

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DETROIT â¿¿ The loss of a key resin used in auto parts is calling into question the auto industry's philosophy of keeping lean inventories. The industry's fragile supply chain was exposed when the Japanese earthquake knocked out parts makers last year, and it's being exposed again by an explosion at a German chemical plant that cut off supplies of a resin used in fuel lines and other parts. Experts say supply problems are an unavoidable part of today's auto industry. But automakers are starting to rethink the system, which is more interconnected globally and relies on increasingly specialized parts from fewer suppliers. By Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin.

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