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May 02, 2000

* Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp., an oil refiner and owner of Stop N Go convenience stores, said first-quarter earnings rose more than fourfold, beating estimates, as higher fuel prices boosted profit margins. Profit from operations jumped to $68.7 million, or 79 cents a share, from $15.8 million, or 18 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 34% to $3.64 billion.

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* Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. poultry producer, said profit from operations in its fiscal second quarter fell 21% as a record-large supply of chicken sent prices lower. Profit fell to $51.2 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with $64.6 million, or 28 cents, a year ago. Sales fell 2.7% to $1.79 billion.

Separately, the National Chicken Council said Americans will eat a record 81 pounds of chicken per capita this year, outpacing consumption of beef and pork. A poll of 1,009 American adults found that 89% of consumers ate chicken at least once each week, and more than one-third of them ate chicken three times a week.

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* Publicis, Europe's biggest advertising company, is in talks to acquire Young & Rubicam Inc., people familiar with the matter said, after Britain's WPP Group pulled out of negotiations to buy its U.S. rival. Y&R may be sold for at least $65 a share, or about $5.5 billion, Bear Stearns & Co. analyst Alexia Quadrani said last week.

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