The Pentagon suspended payment to Halliburton for $159.5 million for meals served at 64 Army dining facilities in Iraq because the documentation was incomplete. The Defense Contract Audit Agency said "numerous items" were missing or incomplete, including subcontract file and billings to subcontractors. The Pentagon seeks to reconcile differences between the number of meals ordered for U.S. troops and the number served.
L.L. Bean Sues Over Pop-Up Ads
L.L. Bean sued four other retailers that it said are using pop-up ads that appear when some customers visit the L.L. Bean Web site. Mary Lou Kelley, vice president for e-commerce at L.L. Bean, said Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, Atkins and Gevalia "are illegally poaching on L.L. Bean's trademark." She said the four retailers contracted with Claria Corp. to create programs to track online habits and create windows to display ads when a Web browser visits certain sites, "a practice that consumers hate."
Forrester Research reported that 830,000 U.S. jobs in the service sector will move abroad by the end of 2005. The "offshoring" trend hitting Silicon Valley and other technology hubs is likely to spread to Midwest manufacturers and cost 3.4 million jobs by 2015, Forrester said.
The Supreme Court made it easier to declare bankruptcy for relief from school loans. The court voted 7-2 to let former Tennessee student Pamela Hood, who claimed she could not afford payments on state-backed loans, pursue her case. The state had said it could not be taken to bankruptcy court against its wishes.
William M. Daley was named Midwest Chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. The former commerce secretary, who resigned last week as head of SBC Communications, will serve on the executive committee of J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank One, which are merging.
XTO Energy agreed to acquire $1.1 billion in natural gas and oil fields from ChevronTexaco. The deal expands XTO's range of North American properties and is expected to add daily production of 88 million cubic feet of natural gas and 14,000 barrels of oil.
Dayton Power and Light's parent company said chairman Peter Forster, interim chief financial officer Caroline Muhlenkamp and president and chief executive Stephen Koziar Jr. stepped down just days after the release of a report by a law firm hired to investigate the company's accounting and governance. The report said DPL should have told the Securities and Exchange Commission about a deal ensuring that Forster and Muhlenkamp would continue to be paid if DFL was sold. The report also said the three executives might have unreported taxable income totaling $335,000 from 2001 to 2003.
T-bill rates fell. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday fell to 1.04 percent from 1.06 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 1.335 percent from 1.34 percent. The actual return to investors is 1.058 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,973.70, and 1.363 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,932.50. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 1.83 percent from 1.63 percent last week.
Adelphia Communications' former vice president, James R. Brown, said at the fraud trial of the company's founder that he felt "a sense of relief in getting things by people" when transactions weren't questioned. Brown has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the prosecution of John J. Rigas and Rigas's sons.
Five states joined California in asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to let investors opt for faster execution of stock trades instead of waiting for an exchange to find the best price. Minnesota, Ohio, Louisiana, Illinois and Alabama officials said the "trade-through rule" puts state-employee pension funds at a disadvantage.
SBC Communications, the nation's No. 2 local phone company, will receive notice today that 100,000 employees represented by the Communications Workers of America may go on strike, the union said. SBC will be given 24 hours' notice that contracts will expire for employees in 13 states, the union said, and a strike could follow without notice. The company is trying to curb medical-cost increases amid declining sales. Contract talks began Feb. 12.
King Pharmaceuticals said Jefferson J. Gregory resigned as chief executive and chairman. He had planned to step down as chief executive but stay on as chairman. The company gave no explanation for the change. The Food and Drug Administration recently rejected the Tennessee-based company's application for an epilepsy treatment, and it is the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission pricing investigation. King also lost money and saw sales fall in the first quarter.
A U.S. appeals court ordered a judge overseeing the asbestos-related bankruptcies of Owens Corning, USG and W.R. Grace to step down from those cases because of questions about his impartiality. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd District disqualified U.S. District Judge Alfred Wolin in Newark, N.J., from overseeing the cases. USG, as well as creditors of Grace and Owens Corning, said Wolin couldn't be impartial because he hired advisers representing other alleged victims of asbestos exposure. Wolin will continue to oversee two other cases.
MCI's suspension from eligibility for New Jersey government contracts was lifted after the company improved internal controls. The former WorldCom had been barred because of an accounting scandal. It has emerged from the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Parmalat Finanziaria proposed placing debt and assets in a new company that could be partly owned by creditors. The Italian dairy company also said it had decided not to sell its U.S. operation, Farmland Dairies, and is looking for a new chief executive. Institutions financing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization protection for Farmland support a plan to continue operations, it said.
America Online, a Dulles-based unit of Time Warner, is withdrawing from Japan and selling its Internet service business to Tokyo-based eAccess for about $18.6 million, the Japanese company said. EAccess, which supplies Internet service providers with high-speed access to the Web, said it will hire most of AOL Japan's 200 employees. AOL Japan made $7.3 million last year on sales of $86.1 million, eAccess said.
Computer Sciences of El Segundo, Calif., said profit in its fiscal fourth quarter, ended April 2, rose 17 percent, to $190.6 million. It credited its purchase last year of DynCorp, which handles security and police training in Iraq. The firm is also upgrading IRS computer systems.
Kmart said it earned $93 million in its fiscal first quarter, ended April 28, compared with a year-earlier loss of $862 million. It credited productivity enhancements and cost-cutting but said same-store sales, considered the best measure of a retailer's health, fell 12.9 percent. It emerged from bankruptcy protection about a year ago.
Limited Brands said first-quarter earnings of $96.6 million were flat compared with a year ago. The operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works boosted revenue 7 percent, to $2 billion. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 8 percent.
Toys R Us reported a bigger loss for its fiscal first quarter, ended May 1. The toy seller lost $28 million, compared with $26 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 2.4 percent, to $2.06 billion.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.