General Motors increased rebates to $5,000 on most sport-utility vehicles, its most profitable autos, and Ford boosted incentives on several models after U.S. sales for the companies fell in June. GM, the world's biggest maker of cars and trucks, also raised rebates on most 2004 cars and minivans to $4,000, and Ford said it's adding $1,000 on several models. Both automakers are increasing incentives to stem market-share losses to Asian automakers.
China Revokes Patent on Viagra
Pfizer said its Chinese patent for Viagra had been overturned and that it would appeal. It said its China patent for the anti-impotence drug would remain in effect while it appeals. Experts said it appeared to be the first time the Chinese government had overturned a pharmaceutical patent, and foreign drug companies have been watching the case as a test of China's commitment to intellectual property rights.
Parker Hannifin, the world's largest maker of hydraulic equipment, was told by a Los Angeles jury to pay $43.6 million to the families of three people killed in a 1997 plane crash in Indonesia -- a crash that U.S. investigators ruled was deliberately caused by the pilot. The jury determined that defects in a rudder control system caused the Boeing 737 to plunge from 35,000 feet, killing all 104 people aboard, and assigned complete responsibility for the crash to Parker Hannifin. "We are incredulous," said Lorrie Paul Crum, a spokeswoman for Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin, who said the company will appeal. "This is the best case for tort reform I've seen yet." The National Transportation Safety Board's conclusions by law are not admissible in federal court.
Jurors in the fraud trial of Adelphia Communications founder John J. Rigas, sons Michael and Timothy, and former assistant treasurer Michael C. Mulcahey ended a seventh day of deliberations without a verdict after requesting documents that prosecutors say relate to the company's cheating of banks. The Rigases and Mulcahey are accused of hiding the $2.3 billion in debt, stealing more than $100 million and lying to investors about operations and finances.
Tyco International's former top lawyer, Mark A. Belnick, got $17 million from his boss, L. Dennis Kozlowski, to cover up misuse of company funds, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney John Moscow said in closing arguments at Belnick's criminal trial. Belnick claims the $17 million bonus was a reward for shepherding Tyco through an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Knight Trading Group, the biggest matchmaker for buyers and sellers of Nasdaq stocks, reached a $79 million settlement of claims that it overcharged customers. The costs of the agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and NASD may wipe out profit for the second quarter, the New Jersey company said in a statement.
The New York Stock Exchange fined and suspended a Merrill Lynch sales executive and a former Merrill Lynch retail analyst for disclosing the analyst's downgrade on Home Depot to select customers before news of the action was released to the public. According to NYSE hearing documents, Janina Casey was fined $150,000 and suspended from work for a month for her role in the July 2002 incident. Peter Caruso, who was fired from his analyst job at Merrill in August 2002, was suspended from working in the securities industry for four months and fined $25,000. Merrill Lynch itself was fined $625,000 earlier this year for failing to prevent the leaks.
Unocal had charges against it of deceiving California environmental regulators revived, as the Federal Trade Commission overturned an administrative law judge's ruling. Unocal was accused of duping regulators into adopting pollution-control standards that forced refiners to pay it royalties. The commission sent the civil charges back to the administrative law judge for further proceedings against Unocal, which produces oil and gas on five continents.
Hewlett-Packard plans to expand its recycling program for personal computers and other electronic devices to 1 billion pounds in the next three years to prevent chemicals from leaking into landfills. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has recycled 500 million pounds of electronic waste since 1987, it said in a statement.
Chief executives' optimism about the economy decreased over the past three months, the Conference Board said. The group's index for chief executives' confidence levels moved slightly lower during the second quarter. The measure is based on a survey of more than 100 chief executives in a variety of businesses.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is suing rival baker Entenmann's over the name "Original Glazed." Krispy Kreme said it owns a trademark issued in 1999 for the phrase. The lawsuit claims Entenmann's is using the phrase and the Krispy Kreme design of "a series of colored dots" on doughnut boxes to confuse customers.
KPMG's chief financial officer has stepped down, continuing an exodus of top executives from the accounting firm as it contends with investigations of its tax-shelter business. Richard Rosenthal, 48, KPMG's chief financial officer since 2002 and previously vice chairman of its tax operations unit, is retiring, company spokesman George Ledwith said. Rosenthal will remain with New York-based KPMG until the end of the year.
The Federal Trade Commission has begun a formal investigation of the proposed November shutdown of a Shell Oil refinery near Bakersfield, Calif., to determine possible antitrust violations, a senior FTC official said. The oil company attributes the shutdown to a decline in oil production in the region, but critics say it is part of a strategy to continue tight oil markets and increase gasoline prices.
The House voted to restore $79 million for the Small Business Administration's largest loan-guarantee program that the Bush administration wanted to eliminate. The House voted 281 to 137 to add the funding, the same amount as last year, to an annual spending bill that supports several government agencies including the Justice Department. The Bush administration has argued that relying on fees rather than appropriations from Congress would ensure a stable funding source for the program.
Ford recalled 171,300 vehicles, including 2003 F-Series pickups and Excursion sport-utility vehicles, to repair engines that can catch fire. Thirty-five reports of engines catching fire prompted the recall, a spokesman said. Ford is also recalling 2003 Crown Victorias and Lincoln Town Cars used in commercial fleets and 2004 Tauruses, Mercury Sables and Thunderbirds.
Siemens nominated executive Klaus Kleinfeld, 46, to replace chief executive Heinrich von Pierer next year, a move the German industrial conglomerate billed as a change of generations at the helm. Von Pierer, 63, will become chairman of the board of directors in January, and Kleinfeld will succeed him as chief executive, the company said.
Legg Mason, a Baltimore-based asset manager with about $285 billion of assets, will open offices for sales staff in Paris, Milan and Frankfurt by the end of the year. It aims to gather $1.5 billion of assets from continental Europe during the fiscal year ending March 31, European Managing Director Paul Boughton said.
Accenture said its third-quarter profit rose 59 percent, to $210.4 million, benefiting from a rebound in its higher-profit consulting business, which accounts for more than half of revenue. Sales, before reimbursements to clients for contract costs, rose 21 percent, to $3.69 billion.
Alcoa's profit increased 87 percent during the second quarter, to $404 million, as sales rose 11 percent, to $6.09 billion -- the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2000.
Genentech said its second-quarter profit rose to $170.8 million, from $132.3 million a year earlier. The biotechnology company is counting on its newest medicine, the colon-cancer treatment Avastin, for sales and profit growth.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.