U.S. manufacturers are preparing dozens of trade complaints against China, hoping to limit imports of clothing, linens and other textiles, industry representatives said. Global quotas on textiles and apparel expire at the end of the year, raising expectations that exports of Chinese goods to the United States will surge, said Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations. The U.S. industry wants China-specific caps in place by the end of the year. Textile companies say the United States will lose as many as 600,000 of the 700,000 domestic textile and apparel jobs next year.
Apple to Pay Affiliates for Downloads
Apple, the world's largest vendor of music on the Internet, will pay other groups a commission to resell songs from its iTunes online store as it tries to fend off competitors. Apple will let companies, universities or other affiliates link their Web sites to any song, artist or music on the iTunes site, said Liz Einbinder, a spokeswoman for the Cupertino, Calif., company, and pay them a 5 percent fee for every sale that can be traced to the links. Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, will open its own 500,000-song online music store today.
An appeals court reinstated a class-action lawsuit filed by shareholders against Oracle and its top executives, citing suspicious insider stock sales, public boasting by executives and overly rosy financial forecasts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said the chief executive's nearly $900 million stock sale a month before the company announced disappointing financial results was "suspicious." The three-judge panel cited the chief executive's public boasts in 2000 that the company was impervious to a slumping economy and subsequent rosy sales forecasts that didn't pan out as reasons the shareholder suit should continue.
Oppenheimer Funds, a division of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, was sued by investors claiming it didn't reveal fees paid to brokers for favored treatment. Oppenheimer had been using its assets to pay brokers to aggressively push Oppenheimer Funds over other funds, according to the class-action complaint. The lawsuit follows an order by the Securities and Exchange Commission last month that bars this practice, known as directed brokerage, and requires portfolio managers to reveal investments in funds they supervise.
AFC Enterprises, the operator of Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits restaurants, sued its former accounting firm Arthur Andersen, blaming it for lost profit and the company's year-long delisting from the Nasdaq Stock Market in August 2003. The Atlanta company accused Arthur Andersen of violating generally accepted accounting practices, auditing malpractice and negligence. AFC said Andersen's work led to the company materially misstating its finances as early as 2000.
The Justice Department is being asked to investigate new Northwest Airlines fees that added $7.50 to the cost of a round-trip ticket purchased through systems used by travel agents. Writing to the department, the Business Travel Coalition said Northwest added the fee hoping that other carriers would follow because it hasn't been able to raise fares directly. The American Society of Travel Agents filed a similar complaint last week.
A North American Free Trade Agreement panel has again ruled that the United States failed to prove its softwood lumber industry is harmed by Canadian imports. The five-member panel directed the U.S. International Trade Commission to rescind its justification for the average 27.2 percent tariffs on Canadian lumber imposed since May 2002. The National Association of Home Builders applauded the ruling and called on the Bush administration not to appeal it.
IHS Energy, which provides maps and technical databases to oil and natural-gas producers, acquired Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the consulting company founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin. The acquisition will combine IHS Energy's data on more than 200 countries with Cambridge Energy's economic and policy analysis, Yergin said. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed.
GlaxoSmithKline has taken a first step toward fulfilling a promise to disclose the results of every drug trial it sponsors by posting results on the Internet at ctr.gsk.co.uk. The pharmaceutical company said it had posted summaries of dozens of clinical trials concerning the diabetes medication rosiglitazone, sold under the name Avandia. Results of other drug trials will be added to the registry later as summaries are compiled, said the London company.
Fleet National Bank asked a judge for permission to foreclose on a $3 million ski resort condominium owned by Timothy J. Rigas, a former Adelphia officer convicted of looting the company. Rigas owes Fleet $2.7 million under a December 1998 note, the bank said. Rigas used the condo in Beaver Creek, Colo., as collateral for the note.
Monsanto said it will offer Iowa growers a new soybean for 2005 that requires less processing and yields more healthful vegetable oil. The Vistive-brand soybeans produce an oil that reduces the need for hydrogenation, the St. Louis company said in a statement. Partial hydrogenation creates trans fats, which are linked to heart disease.
Tyco International sold its Scott Aviation business to Zodiac of France for $70 million as part of a plan to streamline the company through unit sales and job cuts. Scott Aviation, which makes oxygen systems for commercial and military aircraft, had sales of $60 million in fiscal 2003, Tyco said in a statement. Tyco retains Scott Air-Pak products for firefighters and instruments for toxic and combustible gas detection, part of its fire and security unit.
Mitsubishi Motors and three former executives pleaded not guilty to falsifying a February 2002 report to Japan's Transport Ministry on a vehicle defect that caused a wheel to fly off a truck and kill a pedestrian, the company said. The plea was made in the first of a series of trials linked to long-running defect coverups by company officials.
EBay plans to increase its stake in South Korea's largest online auction company, Internet Auction. EBay said it would purchase nearly 3 million publicly held shares of Internet Auction to boost its ownership stake from 62 percent to 86 percent. The $325.6 million cash purchase is expected to clear once the Seoul company's stock hits a target price of $108.85 and the deal passes local securities regulations.
Cargill said it will expand in Brazil by paying about $130 million for a 62 percent stake in Seara Alimentos, one of the country's leading poultry and pork producers. Cargill could call off the deal if the bird flu outbreak hits Brazil.
TransCanada and Petro-Canada announced a joint venture to build a $460 million liquefied natural gas plant in Gros Cacouna near the Quebec border with New Brunswick.
Constellation Energy Group said Frank O. Heintz, the president and chief executive of its Baltimore Gas & Electric utility, plans to retire on Oct. 1. Kenneth W. DeFontes will take over the positions from Heintz, who joined the utility in 1996 and took the top spot four years later. DeFontes is vice president of electric transmission and distribution.
Sherwin-Williams said it completed its $625 million acquisition of coatings companies Duron and Paint Sundry Brands. Sherwin-Williams said it expects the acquisitions to slightly add to fourth-quarter profit but reiterated that 2004 earnings per share will be $2.58 to $2.66. The company said that Paint Sundry will continue operating under current management and that Beltsville-based Duron's 230 stores will continue to be staffed by present employees.
L'Oreal's profit rose 21.8 percent in the first half of the year, to 961 million euros ($1.17 billion) from 789 million euros in the same period a year earlier, boosted by successful product launches and strong demand in emerging markets, including Asia and Eastern Europe. The world's largest cosmetics group said revenue rose 3.6 percent, to 7.40 billion euros ($9.01 billion) from 7.14 billion euros.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.