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Bank of America will make dividend payment


CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Bank of America Corp. said Friday its board authorized a $713 million dividend payment on preferred stock issued to the Treasury Department as part of the government's bank rescue program.

The government launched the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program last fall at the peak of the credit crisis, providing hundreds of banks with capital to shore up their balance sheets, and in an attempt to thaw frozen credit markets.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America received $25 billion as part of the initial round of investments last fall. It then received an additional $20 billion in January shortly after it acquired Merrill Lynch & Co. in a heavily scrutinized deal.

In return for providing the money, the government received preferred stock in the banks and receives quarterly dividends. The bank will pay the $713 million in dividends on Nov. 16.

In other news

U.S. FACTORY ORDERS fell in August by the largest amount in five months, according to a report released Friday. The Commerce Department said demand for manufactured goods dropped 0.8 percent, much worse than the 0.7 percent gain that economists had expected. The August decline reflected plunging demand for commercial aircraft, a category that surged in July.

OIL PRICES TUMBLED Friday as unemployment hit a 26-year high, sowing more doubts about the strength of the economic recovery and crude demand. Benchmark crude for November delivery fell 87 cents a barrel to settle at $69.95 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell as low as $68.32 earlier in the day. Heating oil and gasoline prices also fell.