The House gave final congressional approval to a $5.6 billion, 10-year plan to stockpile drugs to treat victims of a biological attack. Project Bioshield provides incentives for pharmaceutical companies to make drugs that counter exposure to anthrax, smallpox and radiation. The bill also allows the Food and Drug Administration to distribute experimental drugs during an emergency. The bill goes to President Bush for his signature.
MCI Returns to Stock Market
Shares of MCI, formerly known as WorldCom, began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market for the first time in almost two years under its new symbol, MCIP. The Ashburn-based telecommunications company was delisted in July 2002. The company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April. MCI shares rose 13 cents to close at $16.93.
Crude-oil futures rose to a six-week high in New York after the federal government reported the largest withdrawal of oil from storage in three months. U.S. oil inventories fell 2.1 million barrels last week as refineries operated at close to maximum capacity, the Energy Department said. Oil for August delivery settled just below $41 a barrel.
United Airlines will defer $72.4 million in pension funding, due today, but the airline said retirees won't be affected. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, United said deferring the quarterly minimum payment will help it exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. United has until Sept. 15, 2005, to make up the payment.
Bayer pleaded guilty to its role in a chemical-price-fixing conspiracy and will pay a $66 million fine, the Justice Department said. Prosecutors said the Germany-based company, known for its aspirin, and others conspired to fix prices on additives used in rubber products including tires, shoes and outdoor furniture.
CNET Networks said it will buy Webshots, an online digital photography service, for $70 million. Webshots founder Narendra Rocherolle and his business partners sold the site to ExciteAtHome for $82.5 million in 1999. When ExciteAtHome auctioned most of its assets to pay creditors during the dot-com bust, Rocherolle and his partners bought back Webshots at a 97 percent discount.
Jurors in the case against Mark A. Belnick, Tyco International's former general counsel, told the judge they don't expect to reach a verdict before next week. The judge said two jurors have "serious scheduling problems" if deliberations go past tomorrow. Belnick is charged with taking an unauthorized $17 million bonus from Tyco, stock fraud and falsifying business records.
Bertelsmann lost a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by record companies. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, in San Francisco, refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Capitol Records and three other labels that say Bertelsmann, by subsidizing the music-sharing service Napster, contributed to copyright infringement.
Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, raised its quarterly dividend 22 percent, to 5.25 cents, and said it will repurchase as much as $1 billion worth of stock over the next four years. Last month, the chain reported third-quarter profit rose 16 percent.
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, the largest U.S. freight carrier for airlines, won a bankruptcy judge's approval for its reorganization plan and intends to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection before the end of the month. Atlas Air's reorganization plan already has been approved by creditors.
Adelphia Communications, the bankrupt U.S. cable-television operator, said it hired UBS and Allen & Co. as its financial advisers for the sale of the company, and Sullivan & Cromwell as its legal adviser.
David G. Gomach, chief financial officer of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, will quit in November. Gomach, 45, has worked at the exchange since 1987.
Radio Shack said its chief financial officer, Michael Newman, will leave the company next week for a similar post at private-equity firm Blackstone Crystal Holdings Capital Partners.
Royal Philips Electronics, Europe's biggest consumer-electronics maker, said it filed lawsuits in the United States and Germany accusing Gillette of infringing on patents that it uses for its Sonicare line of electric toothbrushes. Gillette, the world's biggest seller of manual and electric toothbrushes, plans to begin selling a new electric toothbrush within two months.
The European Commission approved French and Italian government aid to suppliers for scandal-plagued Parmalat Finanziara. The commission said the failure to receive payment resulted in "crisis" for some companies, justifying the rescue aid, which guarantees bank loans up to $30 million.
British billionaire Philip Green walked away from his battle to win Marks & Spencer, Britain's largest clothing retailer, after the company rejected his three offers.
Granola bars and muesli cereals made by Grist Mill of Lakeville, Minn., were recalled because almonds they contain might carry salmonella. The products are sold under house brand names by many supermarket chains, including Giant and Food Lion. Further information is available at 800-233-7022.
Bank of America reported a 41 percent increase in its second-quarter profit with help from recently acquired FleetBoston Financial. Bank of America earned $3.85 billion in the quarter, up from $2.74 billion in the second quarter last year. Revenue was $13.19 billion, up from $9.79 billion.
Harley-Davidson reported a second-quarter profit of $247.2 million, up 22 percent from the second quarter of 2003. Harley's redesigned Sportster motorcycle is selling well. Revenue rose 8.9 percent, to $1.33 billion.
The New York Times Co. reported a 4 percent increase in second-quarter profit on higher advertising revenue, especially from help-wanted ads. The company, which also publishes the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune and several regional newspapers, earned $75.7 million in the quarter, up from $72.8 million in the second quarter last year.
SanDisk, the top maker of flash memory used in digital cameras, music players and other devices, reported second-quarter profit of $70.6 million, a 71 percent increase from the second quarter of last year. Sales increased 85 percent, to $433.3 million.
Advanced Micro Devices reported its third consecutive profitable quarter, driven by strong sales of computer microprocessors and flash memory chips used mainly in cellular phones. California-based AMD earned $32.2 million, compared with a loss of $140 million in the second quarter last year.
Cardinal Financial, parent of Cardinal Bank in Tysons Corner, said second-quarter earnings fell to $634,000 (3 cents a share) from $669,000 (5 cents) in the second quarter of 2003. For the first six months, earnings rose to $1.4 million (7 cents) from $1.2 million (9 cents). The company also said Domingo Rodriguez, chief financial officer since November, resigned. Carl Dodson was named interim chief financial officer.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.