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Court narrows 'insider' stock trading rules

The Supreme Court narrowed guidelines under which stockbrokers and company employees may be punished by the Securities and Exchange Commission for violating insider-trading rules.

The court ruled 6 to 3 that a person who has private inside information that might result in a change in a firm's stock prices may pass that information to others if he does not knowingly act from ''a motive of personal gain.''

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The high court overturned the SEC's censure of financial analyst Raymond Dirks in connection with the 1973 Equity Funding Corporation of America fraud scandal on Wall Street.

In a major civil rights victory, the court also ruled that minorities suing for discrimination under a key federal law must prove only that they were victims of a discriminatory practice, not that the bias was intentional.

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