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DaimlerChrysler Fourth-Quarter Profit Falls 40%

DaimlerChrysler said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings plunged 40% on weaker demand from its Chrysler brand autos.

Net income dropped to $761 million, or 74 cents per share, from $1.28 billion, or $1.25 per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue slipped to $53.7 billion from $54.7 billion, as sales of Chrysler vehicles fell 7%, offsetting a 5% rise in sales of Mercedes models.

The company said it sold 4.7 million vehicles in 2006, down from 4.8 million in 2005. DaimlerChrysler said it expects total unit sales to rise slightly this year, with revenue remaining roughly flat.

DaimlerChrysler shares rose $3.07, or 4.8%, to $67.52 in premarket activity.