Consumer spending stalled in February for a second straight month as war uncertainties, job worries and higher energy prices made people more cautious, the Commerce Department said. Commerce also said that Americans' incomes rose by a modest 0.3 percent, down from a 0.4 percent advance the month before. Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell in March to 77.6, from 79.9 last month, its lowest level in more than nine years, a University of Michigan survey showed.
Andersen Appeals Conviction
Arthur Andersen LLP has appealed the obstruction-of-justice conviction that put it out of business. A federal jury in Houston last year found that Andersen employees had improperly altered documents related to their work for Enron. Andersen maintains in court papers filed this week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that the trial judge improperly allowed the jury to hear evidence about past problems at the firm, among other claims.
The New York Stock Exchange said it would stop trading in the shares of United Airlines parent UAL because the bankrupt carrier's stock had fallen below $1 a share for a 30-day period. The delisting is effective April 3, when United plans to begin selling its stock on the OTC Bulletin Board.
Corning agreed to pay $300 million to settle 12,400 asbestos lawsuits stemming from a pipemaking joint venture. The settlement will reduce first-quarter results by $200 million, the company said. The agreement clears Corning of all asbestos liability dating back more than 20 years.
The Federal Trade Commission said telemarketers will have to pay $29 per area code or $7,250 nationwide every year to access a government list of consumers who don't want to be solicited by phone. Lists for the first five area codes will be free. Sellers will be required to consult the "do not call" list after Sept. 1, and violators could be fined $11,000 per call after Oct. 1.
Senate Republicans reached an agreement on a $2.8 billion proposal to help the U.S. airline industry, said a spokeswoman for Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi. The accord would give the airlines an $800 million extension of war-risk insurance and a $1.1 billion reimbursement to pay for new fortified cockpit doors, ramp security and other terrorism-prevention measures, said Susan Irby, a spokeswoman for Lott. The other $900 million would be for a six-month waiver from air-security and passenger-security fees. The carriers are seeking $4 billion of tax, security and insurance aid from the government to offset expected losses from the Iraq war. The aid plan may be added as soon as Tuesday to President Bush's $74.7 billion proposal to fund the war.
Adelphia Communications can move to Denver from Coudersport, Pa., a bankruptcy judge said, turning aside objections by founder John J. Rigas and a shareholders panel.
Olympic Pipe Line, a pipeline operator owned by BP and Shell Pipeline, filed for bankruptcy protection after settling federal and state charges stemming from a 1999 explosion in Washington state that caused three deaths and dumped 230,000 gallons of gas into a creek.
Christos M. Cotsakos, E-Trade Group's former chairman and chief executive, got a $4 million bonus last year because the company met performance objectives, E-Trade said. Cotsakos had faced a backlash from shareholders for what they called an excessive 2001 pay package.
Sony Music Entertainment said it is eliminating 1,000 jobs -- roughly 600 in the United States -- as it seeks to become more efficient. The cuts equal about 10 percent of Sony Music's worldwide workforce.
The World Trade Organization declared an impasse in talks on cutting farm subsidies paid by rich countries, a breakdown that threatens a broader trade agreement among the WTO's 145 member governments. The WTO had set a March 31 deadline for reaching the framework of an agreement on how to open trade in farm products, including sugar and grain.
Varsity Group, a District-based company that sells textbooks online, said it earned $661,000 (4 cents a share) in fiscal 2002, compared to a net loss of $2.2 million (13 cents) the previous year. Revenue rose 33 percent, to $16.6 million.
Sirius Satellite Radio said its fourth-quarter loss widened to $122.1 million, from $72 million a year earlier, as expenses increased. Revenue was $685,000. The company had no revenue in the fourth quarter of 2001, before initiating its radio service in February 2002.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.