Consumer sentiment declined slightly in August, according to a survey by the University of Michigan. The index climbed to 95.9, up from its 94.0 reading in a mid-month survey, but was down from the 96.7 reported at the end of July, according to people in the market who have seen the report. The report is released only to subscribers.
Bankruptcy Trend Reverses
Bankruptcies, dominated by personal filings, fell by about 1 percent in the year ended June 30, with business bankruptcies falling almost 4 percent, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said. The drop, to 1.63 million from 1.65 million, is the first since 2000 for the 12-month period ending in June, the office said in a statement.
Yahoo sold $191 million in Google stock this week, cashing out 2.3 million of the 2.7 million shares Google gave Yahoo this month to settle two lawsuits. In one of the settlements, Google got a perpetual license to Yahoo's patent on matching online advertisements to Web-search results.
Microsoft was sued by Los Angeles County and the City of San Francisco over claims that the company overcharged them for its Windows software because of its monopoly in operating systems. Microsoft, the world's largest software company, settled a consumer suit in California last year that excluded government agencies.
A federal judge dismissed an antitrust complaint by VeriSign, the company that controls master lists of dot-com Web sites, against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which handles domain names and other Internet addressing policies. In dismissing the antitrust suit, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz said VeriSign could not claim that ICANN's board was dominated by VeriSign competitors. Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign claims decisions by ICANN stymied its efforts to expand its business.
The Kentucky Supreme Court vacated a $15 million judgment against Ford Motor in the case of a man whose pickup slipped into reverse and crushed him. The justices ordered the case back to Clay County Circuit Court for a new trial on punitive damages. Ford already paid nearly $5.6 million in compensatory damages, plus interest. Compensatory damages were not at issue in the ruling.
About 3,400 employees at three BFGoodrich plants in Indiana and Alabama approved a new contract after working about 15 months without one. Goodrich's parent company, Michelin of France, estimated the labor deals at the three U.S. plants and another in Canada will save the company about 20 percent of its annual labor costs at the four sites.
The Associated Press will put in place a training program on copyright law for its journalists in order to resolve a dispute with Simon & Schuster over AP's publication last year of a story with excerpts from Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoirs, "Living History." Simon & Schuster said the story, which came out several days before the book's official publication date, amounted to copyright infringement. AP said the memoir information in the story had strong news value.
Alitalia, Italy's struggling state airline, will not be the recipient of a move by Italy's civil aviation authority ENAC to force the airline's rivals to raise prices on long-haul flights. ENAC announced it would not go ahead with the plan, which would have forced about 40 foreign airlines operating services from Italy to raise prices to Alitalia's level.
The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac submitted to the White House its final proposals over how the two largest mortgage finance companies should manage their boards, compensation, audits and other governance. The rules are subject to a 90-day review period by the Office of Management and Budget before they can be enforced. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight and Congress intensified their scrutiny of the companies after McLean-based Freddie Mac last year said it understated earnings from 2000 until 2002 by $5 billion.
US Airways Group named a veteran union negotiator to its board of directors. Thomas R. Harter, senior vice president and consultant at Segal Co. in Washington, will fill the seat previously held by Perry Hayes, president of the US Airways chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants.
General Electric and Whirlpool are recalling 52,800 ovens and ranges because of faulty wiring, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The companies are recalling General Electric, Hotpoint, Kenmore and Americana brand electric ranges and ovens.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.