US Airways chief executive Bruce R. Lakefield issued his most urgent plea yet for cost-saving deals the airline says it needs to avoid a return to bankruptcy. "We need your labor leaders to get to the table and stay there until we get deals," Lakefield said in his weekly phone message to US Airways' 28,000 employees. "We have lenders, financial partners and vendors who are watching the US Airways situation very closely, and they are not amused with what they read." The International Association of Machinists is the only major union that says it is unwilling to negotiate.

FTC Consumer Chief to Leave

J. Howard Beales III will step down as chief of the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection bureau on Aug. 6, the agency said. Beales oversaw efforts to set up the anti-telemarketing registry, the first criminal prosecution of spam, and agreements from companies to protect information that consumers provide on company Web sites. Deputy Director Lydia B. Parnes was appointed acting director.


Marvel Enterprises sued Walt Disney Co. over profit from cartoons shown on Disney's ABC Family cable channel. It says Disney claims it is losing money on the animated series "The Incredible Hulk," "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" and refuses to provide records to justify its assertion that it owes Marvel no profit distribution.

H&R Block failed to persuade a federal appeals court to stop a class-action lawsuit by millions of customers who accused the tax preparation service of gouging them on tax-refund loans. The HSBC subsidiary has been sued in at least six states, as well as in federal court, since 1992 over the program. Class-action status gives the consumers' lawyers more leverage to obtain a settlement.

Six Flags' share price fell as much as 26 percent after the company said attendance at its amusement parks had declined. In the first half of the year, attendance at the company's 31 parks fell to 12.8 million from 13.3 million in the first half of 2003, the Oklahoma City company said.

Dell raised second-quarter profit forecasts as higher sales in Asia and Europe helped cut its tax rate. Kevin Rollins, who took over as chief executive yesterday, has focused on adding customers overseas, where taxes are lower.


Ford Motor recalled 899,060 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans in cold-weather states because salt from the roads could corrode and fracture the cars' front coil springs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The recall involves vehicles from the 1999, 2000 and 2001 model years.

Boston Scientific widened its recall of its recently approved drug-coated coronary stent and began to recall another stent. The recalls now involve about 85,000 Taxus systems and about 11,000 Express2 systems, but do not involve Boston Scientific's Express SD and LD biliary stent systems.


Collegiate Funding Services of Fredericksburg yesterday raised $150 million in its initial public offering of 9.4 million shares of stock. The company, which finances and services educational loans, said it expects net proceeds of $136.1 million. JP Morgan Securities and Merrill Lynch were the lead underwriters of the stock, which opened at $16 a share and closed down 36 cents at $15.64 a share. The stock trades on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol CFSI. The company employs 1,000 people in several cities.


Delphi posted a second-quarter profit of $131 million, up from $88 million in the same quarter a year ago, as the world's largest automotive parts supplier expanded business aside from its No. 1 customer, General Motors, by 23 percent, but it warned of a possible third-quarter loss. Revenue rose 6 percent, to $7.5 billion.

Rambus's second-quarter earnings jumped nearly 85 percent year-to-year to $8.3 million as the computer semiconductor design supplier acquired patents from Cadence Design Systems. Revenue climbed 20 percent to a record $35 million.

Hasbro said it earned $18.8 million during its second quarter, up from $11.4 million last year. The nation's second-largest toymaker attributed the increase to reductions in overhead.

Electrolux posted a 25 percent decline in second-quarter profit, to $161 million, because of rising steel prices and a drop in sales of its U.S. floor-care product line. The Swedish home-appliance maker, whose brands include Frigidaire, Electrolux and Weed Eater, warned it would likely cut more jobs and shift production to cheaper markets.

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