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News In Brief

Consumer confidence rose for the sixth straight month in April, the Conference Board reported. Its index, a key indicator of future economic activity, rose nearly a full point to 134.9 from a revised 134 in March. It was a stronger performance than Wall Street analysts had expected.

One day after confirming that it will buy a 15 percent stake in Japan's No. 3 telecommunications company, AT&T announced a partnership with the largest: Nippon Telegraph & Telephone. Its focus is expected to be managing communications networks that link multinational corporations, especially in Asia.

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FORE Systems Inc., a leader in Internet switching technology, will be sold to Britain's General Electric Co. for $4.5 billion, the latter said. FORE is based in Pittsburgh. The deal is the second this year in the US for the British engineering company. Early this month, it completed the $1.74 billion purchase of Reltec Corp., a Cleveland telecommunications products business. General Electric is not related to the US company of the same name.