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Your URL request is to a file, not a web server. Since you are essentially opening a file, you see the file's contents. You need to have navigateToURL open a web page (eg, http://somesystem/yourpage.mxml) located on an Flex Data Services server. You need the server to compile your MXML into a SWF.
If you don't have FDS installed, then have navigateToURL open the SWF file (or URL to a SWF file or to an HTML page that contains <object> tag to embed the SWF on the page), not the MXML source file.
How do I locate the swf file for the mxml file? I do not have FDS installed.
If you have Flex Builder or the Flex 2 SDK you have the mxmlc compiler. With Flex Builder it will compile the MXML automatically and put it into the bin directory. With the Flex 2 SDK you use the mxmlc on a command line (eg, mxmlc myapp.mxml produces myapp.swf)
THANK YOU SO MUCH PETER!