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Housing Starts Up in August

Forstmann Little reached a $15 million settlement with the state of Connecticut after a jury found that the investment firm was in breach of contract involving the state's pension fund. The state sued Forstmann Little over the loss of $125 million that it claimed was invested improperly in two communications companies that the firm did not control. Connecticut had sought $120 million, which was its share of the loss.

Kraft Foods said the Securities and Exchange Commission does not intend to recommend an enforcement action against the company in connection with the government's investigation of bankrupt food distributor Fleming. The SEC in November told Kraft and other suppliers that it was examining whether they helped Fleming artificially book revenue more quickly.


Nintendo said its $150 handheld Nintendo DS, left, will go on sale Nov. 21. Sony said a slimmer, reworked PlayStation 2, above left, would be introduced in North America on Nov. 1, for the same $149 price as its predecessor. (Issei Kato -- Reuters)

_____Stock Quotes_____
International Business Machi. (IBM)
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEH)
Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU)
Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT)
Adelphia Communications (ADELQ)
Walt Disney Co. (DIS)
PeopleSoft, Inc. (PSFT)
Oracle Corporation (ORCL)
Altria Group, Inc. (MO)
American International Group (AIG)
Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT)
Goldman Sachs Group (GS)
General Mills, Inc. (GIS)
Stride Rite Corp. (SRR)
_____Interactive Primer_____
Understanding Regulatory Policy
_____Related SEC Articles_____
MCI Not Liable for Legal Costs From SEC Investigation (The Washington Post, Sep 22, 2004)
MCI Creditors Are Target of SEC Subpoenas (The Washington Post, Sep 18, 2004)
Plea Due in MedImmune Stock Case (The Washington Post, Sep 17, 2004)
More SEC News

Goldman Sachs said it would seek shareholder approval to have the firm's directors elected every year, rather than for staggered, three-year terms. The proposal will be on the ballot at Goldman's 2005 annual meeting next spring and will require 80 percent support from shareholders to pass.

INTERNATIONAL

WPP Group, the world's second-largest advertising and marketing group, said its J. Walter Thompson division will buy a 30 percent stake in Chinese agency Guangzhou Newsun Insight Advertising.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Hovnanian Enterprises purchased the home-building assets of Rocky Gorge Homes of McLean for an undisclosed cash price. Rocky Gorge develops land and designs, builds and sells houses in the Washington area. The acquisition includes 133 homes and about 1,250 lots. Rocky Gorge will remain a developer.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers said it plans to open about 40 stores in the second half of fiscal 2004. The men's clothier, which is based in Hampstead, Md., and has 238 stores in 38 states and the District, said it intends to grow to about 500 stores over the next four years.

EARNINGS

Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers reported increased earnings in their latest quarters. Lehman Brothers said profit in its third quarter rose 4 percent, to $487 million. Goldman Sachs said profit rose 30 percent, to $469 million.

General Mills said its first-quarter profit was $183 million, down from $227 million during the comparable period last year. Revenue was $2.59 billion in the quarter ended Aug. 29, up from $2.52 billion.

Stride Rite said its third-quarter profit was $6.2 million, down from $6.4 million in the comparable period last year. Sales rose to $140.4 million, from $139.7 million, in the quarter ended Aug. 27.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.


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