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Published: Wednesday, 4/13/2005

Hope for asbestos fund sends OC shares soaring

Stock of Toledo's Owens Corning, which is mired in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, nearly doubled in price yesterday and other companies' shares also rose as prospects improved for a bipartisan agreement to create a $140 billion fund to compensate victims of asbestos.

In trading on the over-the-counter market, 11.7 million shares - more than 15 times normal volume - changed hands, and the price rose $2.15 a share to close at $4.68, approaching its high-water mark near $5 since the October, 2000, bankruptcy filing.

OC stock is expected to be canceled before the firm emerges from bankruptcy.

Shares of other former asbestos makers, such as USG Corp. and W.R. Grace, surged, too. Republicans in the U.S. Senate have proposed a bill to create a fund for victims, ending lawsuits that sent more than 70 companies into bankruptcy because they were unable to pay the potential liabilities. Some Democrats are prepared to support the bill.

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