Book Online or Pay
Northwest Airlines announced that travelers would pay more for tickets purchased at the counter or over the telephone. Only online purchases will be free of surcharges. Purchases over the phone will cost an extra $5; purchases at the counter will carry a $10 charge. United Airlines joined the party in a limited way, announcing that passengers who redeem frequent flier miles will pay an extra $15 if they book through a reservations agent rather than the Web.
Arguing Overtime Rules
Everyone agreed that federal regulations determining which salaried workers are guaranteed overtime pay were unclear, unfair and out of date. But no one agrees about the Labor Department's new rules, which went into effect on Monday. It's clear workers with salaries below $23,660 automatically qualify. But labor groups say new, loose definitions ("creative professional," "team leader") may deprive many of the extra pay. And employers? They say it will take quite a while to figure things out.
Oil Prices Drop After Surge
The month-long march of oil prices to record after record began to reverse, with a barrel of crude falling to the $43 range by week's end. Analysts cited prospects of increasing stability in Najaf, Iraq, as well as less-rampant speculating by futures traders, as contributing factors. But they said the situation remains volatile. Transportation companies have been especially hard-hit, as prices that nearly hit $49 per barrel helped put the brakes on the overall economic recovery.
Audit Firms Under Fire
The early returns are in from the oversight board of auditing firms mandated by Congress in the wake of corporate accounting scandals, and the picture is not flattering. Several rules violations and instances of shoddy recordkeeping were laid bare at Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young. The most-cited problem: how auditors allow public companies to treat credit agreements on their books. Many firms were allowed to classify current liabilities as long-term debt.
A Hole in the Doughnut
Krispy Kreme, long a darling of investors, posted anemic earnings and said it would alter its expansion strategy. The company's stock has fallen from last year's all-time high of $49.74 per share to close the week at $14. But none of that mattered to the people who lined up in Dupont Circle as many as 13 hours early to be the first customers at the District's first Krispy Kreme store, which opened Tuesday.