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us wholesale prices rose moderately in March despite a jump in energy costs, the Labor Department reported. Its producer price index was up 0.2 percent for the month after a 0.4 percent drop in February. The core index, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, was unchanged for the second straight month.

The urgent attempt by former state-owned monopoly Telecom Italia to fight off a hostile takeover took an unexpect-ed turn Saturday when too few people showed up at a key shareholders' meeting to form a quorum. Those attending were to be asked for their approval of a management plan to convert more than 2 billion nonvoting shares in the company into voting shares. That would have made the takeover by rival Olivetti far more costly. Olivetti, which is one-fifth the size of Telecom Italia, already has upped its original proposal from $58 billion to $65.2 billion.

Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

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