Mortgage rates fell under 6 percent this week for the first time since April, Freddie Mac said. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.98 percent from 6 percent, the fifth straight weekly decline. The average one-year adjustable rate rose to 4.12 percent from 4.02 percent, and the 15-year fixed rate declined to 5.39 percent from 5.40 percent.
No Sign of 9/11 Inside Trading, SEC Says
There is no evidence that anyone traded in U.S. stock or options markets on advance knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. That conclusion, included in the final report issued by the Sept. 11 commission, was the government's first public statement on the findings of the trading probe, which started the day after the attacks.
The Conference Board's composite index of leading economic indicators declined by 0.2 percent last month to 116.2, its first decrease since March 2003, falling short of analysts' expectations.
The Michigan Supreme Court overturned a $21 million jury verdict against DaimlerChrysler, saying it reflected passion rather than reason. The 1999 judgment was believed to have been one of the largest awards to a single sexual harassment plaintiff.
AMC Entertainment said Marquee Holdings, a joint operation of J.P. Morgan Partners and AMC's current majority owner, Apollo Management, plans to take the theater chain private in a deal worth $2 billion, or $19.50 per share.
Washington Mutual said it will cut 4,900 jobs from its mortgage bank and close 100 loan centers. The nation's largest savings and loan said it had a second-quarter loss of $63 million, compared with a $489 million profit a year earlier, as home-loan volume slipped 44 percent.
United Airlines, poised to become the first U.S. commercial carrier to provide service to Vietnam in decades, said it will begin daily flights from San Francisco to Ho Chi Minh City on Dec. 9 after securing final approval from the Vietnamese government.
Loral Space & Communications, the third-largest U.S. satellite maker, said it finalized plans to pay creditors and exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings by the end of the year.
Germany's top banker and five co-defendants were acquitted of criminal charges of breach of trust or abetting a breach of trust over large payments to executives during 2000's $180 billion takeover of German cell phone company Mannesmann by rival Vodafone. Prosecutors had charged that Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann and the other defendants acted illegally in approving or accepting the payments.
Japanese and U.S. scientists agreed to recommend an end to tests for mad cow disease in young and newborn cattle -- a compromise that could reopen the lucrative beef trade between the two countries. Japan was one of 30 nations to impose a ban on American beef several months ago following the discovery of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease.
DaimlerChrysler reached a cost-saving deal with its German workers, a union spokesman said, after contentious talks marked by a week of protests and brief work stoppages. The company had demanded $612 million in cuts to annual costs, saying that otherwise it will have to move production of its Mercedes C-Class cars.
A Georgia company is recalling more than 18 tons of cooked chicken because it may be contaminated with listeria bacteria, the Agriculture Department said. The recall, by KD Acquisitions I Braselton, covers 14-pound boxes of Tyson, Fully Cooked, Chicken Breast Filet Fritters with Rib Meat, 3806, and 20-pound boxes of Spare Time, Fully Cooked, Chicken Breast Fillet Fritters with Rib Meat, 3806, that were produced July 13 and distributed to warehouses in Georgia and Arkansas, the USDA said. It also covers 12-pound boxes of America's Choice, Fully Cooked, Breaded Seasoned Chicken Nuggets, 07046, with the codes 4195P17933 and P 17933, produced on July 13 and distributed to grocery stores in Maryland and New York.
Amazon.com rode 26 percent sales growth to a second-quarter profit of $76.5 million, compared with a loss of $43.3 million in the same period a year ago.
American International Group, the world's largest insurance company, said second-quarter profit rose 26 percent, to $2.86 billion, after it increased life insurance and annuities sales in Asia and investment losses narrowed.
Amgen's second-quarter profit rose 23 percent, to $748.1 million, on strong sales of its Aransep anemia drug.
JetBlue Airways said second-quarter profit fell 43 percent, to $21.5 million from $38 million in the same quarter a year earlier, when government aid boosted profit.
Knight Ridder, the nation's second-largest newspaper publisher, reported a 12 percent rise in profit for its second quarter, to $86.3 million. But it also issued a cautious outlook and said department store and national advertising were sluggish.
Eli Lilly and Co. profit fell 5 percent, to $656.9 million, as the drugmaker incurred a one-time expense of $108.9 million for costs related to manufacturing and research and development.
SBC Communications posted a second-quarter profit of $1.17 billion, 16 percent less than in the same period last year, after taking a $263 million charge over a strike and subsequent settlement.
Sears, Roebuck reported an 83 percent drop in second-quarter profit, to $53 million, suffering from continued weak sales and the absence of the profitable credit card unit it sold last year.
Union Pacific, which owns the nation's largest railroad, reported second-quarter earnings of $158 million, down from $288 million a year ago. Operational problems and high fuel prices hurt results, the company said.
UPS reported an 18 percent jump in second-quarter profit, to $818 million, citing strong growth in its global small package business.
Viacom said second-quarter profit rose 14 percent, to $753.8 million, as strong growth in cable networks and broadcast television overcame flat to lower results in radio, outdoor advertising, video rentals and entertainment.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.