A federal judge refused to delay an order that Freddie Mac release more than $50 million to former chief executive Leland C. Brendsel. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon did not elaborate on his decision to reject arguments by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight that the regulator would be irreparably damaged by release of the money. The money has been tied up at OFHEO's request since last summer, when Brendsel was fired after disclosure that the company used questionable accounting techniques to smooth its earnings so they appeared to rise steadily every year.
Tribune Co. Loses Ownership Appeal
A federal appeals court denied a request from Tribune Co. to allow common ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in markets with at least nine television stations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit also approved tighter limits on radio station ownership in a single market. Chicago-based Tribune, which publishes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other newspapers, argued that no ownership limits were necessary in the largest markets because a variety of news sources were available.
Pfizer said it agreed to pay $430 million to settle all lawsuits against it alleging injury from insulation products made by its Quigley subsidiary. Pfizer will establish a trust for the payment of pending claims as well as any future claims, contributing $405 million to the trust over 40 years through a note and about $100 million in insurance. Pfizer will also forgive a $30 million loan to Quigley. As part of the settlement, Quigley will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The U.S. service sector accelerated hiring in August, but its growth rate slowed markedly compared with July, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Its August non-manufacturing index was at 58.2, after 64.8 in July and 59.9 in June. Index readings above 50 point to growth in the sector.
Economic ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to drop regional tariffs and streamline government regulations for 10 sectors as a first step toward the creation by 2020 of a regional economic community akin to the European Union. The plan is to be implemented in 2007 by Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are to implement it in 2012.
The United States will ask China to limit textile and clothing exports in an attempt to head off petitions from domestic companies. Commerce Undersecretary Grant D. Aldonas said the Chinese apparel industry is beginning to understand that a negotiated export cap would provide "greater certainty" to both Chinese and U.S. companies.
Coca-Cola offered to change the way it sells beverages in Britain and four other European countries to settle a five-year-old antitrust investigation. The specific proposal, which was not disclosed, was believed by analysts to include allowing competitors to sell their drinks from Coca-Cola's refrigerated coolers in supermarkets and retail stores. The European Commission is circulating the proposal among competitors and customers for comments.
Wyeth recalled its ProHeart 6 heartworm medicine for pets. The Food and Drug Administration said it received 5,552 reports of complications, including bleeding and death, linked to ProHeart 6. Wyeth said it agreed to temporarily stop making ProHeart 6 while the FDA investigates the reports. The FDA earlier had worked with Wyeth to increase warnings about the risks of the drug, given as twice-yearly injections.
InteliData Technologies on Tuesday will move from the Nasdaq National Market to the Nasdaq SmallCap Market. The Reston company, which was removed from Nasdaq's large-stocks market for failing to maintain the minimum bid price of $1, said Nasdaq has given it a grace period -- until Dec. 13, with a possible extension until June 13 -- to meet that requirement on the SmallCap Market.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.