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IN BRIEF

Bank sues builders over project in Henderson

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by assets, is seeking $325 million in lawsuits against seven homebuilders, including KB Home and Toll Bros. Inc., over a stalled Nevada development.

JPMorgan, in seven complaints filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan, said a development group of which the builders are part defaulted on guarantees to develop Inspirada, a community planned for Henderson.

The $1.25 billion development was to have 11,500 homes on 1,940 acres.

Work on Inspirada “has substantially stalled, if not ceased completely,” the New York-based bank said in the complaints.

JPMorgan’s lawsuits follow Wachovia Corp.’s Oct. 21 complaint against many of the same builders over the Kyle Canyon Gateway project in Las Vegas.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Investors OK merger of Merrill, Bank of America

Shareholders of Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bank of America Corp. on Friday approved the investment bank’s sale to Bank of America, a move that will create the nation’s largest financial-services firm.

During a meeting at company headquarters in New York, Merrill shareholders approved the sale of the company, bringing to an end the independence of an investment bank founded in 1914.

Bank of America shareholders approved the deal later in the day.

COLUMBUS, Ohio

Oil prices hit lowest point in four years

Oil prices hit four-year lows Friday as employers cut the highest number of jobs in 34 years. The continuing decline in prices is so dramatic and so sudden that it is raising the prospect that gasoline prices could soon fall below $1 a gallon.

A gallon of gasoline can be had for 50 cents less than it cost just last month, and people are starting to talk about $1 gasoline.

On July 11, a barrel of oil hit a record $147.27 and a gallon of gasoline was $4.117 on July 17. In less than five months, oil has fallen 72 percent.

NEW YORK

Treasury yields higher as stocks head upward

Treasury yields recovered modestly from historical lows Friday as investors sold government debt and swarmed back into stocks.

The benchmark 10-year note fell 1.28 to 109.94, and its yield rose to 2.70 percent from 2.56 percent.

The 30-year bond fell 2.06 to 126.09 and its yield rose to 3.14 percent from 3.07 percent.

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