A drugmakers association said it has created a Web site where companies can list clinical trials they sponsored for drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Beginning Oct. 1, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America site will summarize results from selected trials completed since Oct. 1, 2002, on FDA-approved drugs. No details will be listed from trials for drugs that fail to gain FDA approval or for trials that are still enrolling patients. The announcement precedes a congressional hearing to examine how the industry deals with trials that have negative results. Separately, Forest Laboratories reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer and will start an online registry of its drug studies, Spitzer's office said.
Pension Suit Would Force Disclosure
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension plan with $166 billion in assets, was sued to force it to break down the more than $500 million it pays managers of venture capital and hedge funds each year. Plaintiffs said disclosure would prevent the fund from rewarding poor management or political donors. Taxpayers and state workers who depend on Calpers for their retirement have a right to a breakdown of costs, according to the suit filed by the California First Amendment Coalition in state court in San Francisco.
Ford Motor will end the second shift at its suburban St. Louis assembly plant in January, eliminating about 800 jobs. Ford cited declining sales of the Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer and Lincoln Aviator sport-utility vehicles made at the plant, which employs more than 2,600.
Netflix and TiVo shares rose after Newsweek reported that the companies may start a service that lets customers download movies into TiVo's digital video recorders. A TiVo spokeswoman said the company won't offer a movie-download service for at least a year. TiVo and Netflix, a mail-order video rental service, do not have a partnership or a schedule to establish one, spokeswomen said.
Cephalon, maker of the anti-drowsiness drug Provigil, received a subpoena from U.S. prosecutors for documents relating to its sales and marketing practices. Drugmakers including AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb have received similar demands from prosecutors.
Hewlett-Packard sales in the back-to-school shopping season are meeting expectations one month into the quarter, Chief Financial Officer Robert Wayman said. He said the company has fixed problems with an order processing software system from SAP that caused Hewlett-Packard to mishandle orders and shipments last quarter. He blamed the problems on management and training issues rather than on the software. HP shares rose 29 cents to close at $17.99 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.
Monsanto said it has sold 1.3 million packets of genetically modified cotton seeds in India during the 2004 sowing season, recording an almost fivefold increase over 2003 sales of 230,000 packets. The U.S. seed giant's BT cotton is the only genetically modified crop allowed in India, and it has faced stiff opposition from environmental groups. BT stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium whose gene is injected into cotton seeds to make them resistant to boll worms, a major concern for farmers in India.
T-bill rates rose. The Treasury Department sold $19 billion of three-month bills at a 1.635 percent discount rate, up from 1.580 percent last week, and $17 billion of six-month bills at a 1.860 percent rate, up from 1.775 percent. The actual return to investors was 1.663 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,958.70, and 1.903 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,906.00.
Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, said it is expanding its Personal Journal newspaper section and plans a December launch for a holiday supplement covering entertainment, fashion and cars. The newspaper has also redesigned its A2 and A3 pages to make advertisements easier to see. The changes are part of the Journal's strategy to attract advertisers outside finance and technology.
Circuit City said sales at stores open at least a year rose 2.9 percent in its latest quarter, but growth was hurt by softer sales in August and because Labor Day weekend fell out of the period. Total sales increased 8.9 percent, to $2.35 billion, in the quarter ended Aug. 31, driven by demand for plasma-screen televisions and notebook computers.
Dominion Resources, owner of Virginia's largest utility, agreed to pay $656 million for three power plants from National Energy & Gas Transmission, the bankrupt power generation unit of PG&E. The purchase requires bankruptcy court approval.
Louise Herrle, treasurer for the mortgage finance company Freddie Mac, is leaving to join a new unit of General Motors. Herrle, 47, will be a managing director, treasurer and head of corporate finance at a new holding company for General Motors Acceptance's residential mortgage finance unit.
McAfee said that Stephen Richards, its chief operating officer and chief financial officer, will resign on Dec. 31 to pursue other interests. He was formerly CFO at online brokerage E-Trade Financial before joining McAfee in that capacity in 2001. The computer security systems provider said it already has begun to search for his successor as CFO.
Union leaders slammed Alitalia's plan to cut 5,000 jobs but said they will keep negotiating and hold off on striking. Italy's top union leader said the unions will continue talks in a bid to win concessions and said "exaggerated forms of struggle" were not useful. The state-run airline says that it has only enough assets to pay salaries through the end of this month and that the layoffs would allow it to save some $380 million by 2006.
Finnair will let its frequent fliers check in for flights using mobile-phone text messaging. Passengers with only carry-on luggage will be able to send a quick message to use the service, which will let them bypass most normal check-in procedures. A message sent back to the traveler will confirm flight details and include a seat assignment. Passengers will, however, have to go through a metal detector and a security check.
US Airways has joined some of its competitors in imposing a fee on customers who buy or reserve tickets by telephone or at its service counters. The idea is to get more customers to use its Web site, which lowers costs. The carrier, based in Arlington, will charge $5 for telephone reservations and $10 for booking a ticket at an airport counter starting Thursday.
Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, the top U.S. defense contractor, may sell 20 of the newest type of Patriot missiles -- called Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, missiles -- to Japan for as much as $79 million, the Defense Department said. The sale would also include related support equipment, computers, training, spare parts and support, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
Pepco Holdings said it will sell 13 million common shares and use the proceeds to reduce its debt. Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse First Boston are lead underwriters, with Citigroup Global Markets, J.P. Morgan Securities, KeyBanc Capital Markets, Scotia Capital USA, SunTrust Capital Markets and Wachovia Capital Markets as co-underwriters.
Lexmark International has recalled almost 40,000 laser printers because of a potential shock hazard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The affected models are Lexmark's E232, E232t, E330, +332n and E332tnl; IBM's Infoprint 1412 and 1412n; and Dell's 1700 and 1700n. Most were sold through distributors and the Web sites of Dell and International Business Machines for about $200 each. Users should immediately stop using the printers, the commission said. Consumers can contact Lexmark at 877-877-6218; Dell at 888-245-3959; and IBM at 800-426-7378.
Rite Aid cut its annual sales and earnings forecasts for the fiscal year to as much as 22 cents per share -- analysts had expected 28 cents -- because of increased competition from mail-order pharmacies. The drugstore chain, which doesn't have its own mail-order business, was hurt last quarter by a United Auto Workers contract in Michigan that mandated prescriptions be filled by mail order through pharmacy benefits managers. The Camp Hill, Pa., company also is developing plans to better compete with mail-order pharmacies, the chief executive said in a statement.
Neiman Marcus said fourth-quarter earnings almost tripled as shoppers bought more designer dresses and handbags. Net income surged to $20.6 million from $7.17 million a year earlier. Sales in the three months ended July 31 rose 12 percent, to $789 million.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.