UAL said a 5 percent drop in August revenue at United Airlines fueled a $12 million operating loss for the month. In a bankruptcy filing, the airline's parent company reported a net loss of $56 million, including $11 million in reorganization expenses. Separately, American Airlines' parent said in a regulatory filing that it needs additional relief because August revenue fell short of expectations. American is reducing some flights and considering charging passengers for onboard food, the company's chairman said. Delta Air Lines, which has warned of a possible bankruptcy filing, is selling eight jumbo jets and four spare engines to shipping giant FedEx.

Economic Index Falls for Third Month

A measure of future economic activity fell in August for a third consecutive month, reflecting an uncertain climate for both businesses and consumers. The Conference Board said its closely watched composite index of leading economic indicators fell 0.3 percent in August, to 115.7, following a decline of 0.3 percent in July. Separately, the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 14,000, to 350,000, mostly as a result of the hurricanes that hit Florida.

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Congress approved the extension of the $5,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers in the District. The credit was renewed retroactively for all of 2004 and for 2005. The credit, which was expected to be renewed, expired at the end of last year. The D.C. tax credit, first enacted in 1997, is aimed at increasing the city's tax base with more middle-class taxpayers and varies according to the buyer's income.

General Electric violated the law by failing to fully disclose to investors the many perks lavished on its retired chief executive Jack Welch, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. The SEC did not fine GE, but GE promised to fully disclose such benefits from now on.

Wachovia agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle Labor Department claims that the company engaged in pay discrimination involving 2,021 current and former female employees. Wachovia officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

Sanjay Kumar, Computer Associates' former chief executive, and Stephen Richards, the business software supplier's former head of worldwide sales, pleaded not guilty to federal securities fraud and other charges in a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal.

Electronic stability control systems appear to be effective in reducing the number of single-vehicle crashes, including rollovers, according to a preliminary study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The technology has proved particularly effective for sport-utility vehicles, the study found.

The Securities and Exchange Commission approved an NASD rule that will require brokerage firms to designate a chief compliance officer. The rule will require the brokerage's chief executive to meet annually with the compliance executive and to certify procedures for protecting investors, NASD said in a statement.

Putnam Investments, which paid $110 million in penalties over improper trading, said it plans to begin disclosing the aggregate pay of its fund management teams. The decision is part of an agreement with California officials that will again make the firm eligible to bid for state pension contracts, California State Treasurer Phil Angelides said.

Hawaiian Airlines' former chairman and a partnership he managed agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle allegations that a stock buyback he organized was unlawful. John W. Adams proposed the 2002 repurchase offer without disclosing to most shareholders that the now-bankrupt company had suffered a "significant economic downturn," the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged.

Mortgage rates fell this week, with 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages sinking to their lowest level in five months, 5.70 percent, from 5.75 percent last week. Rates for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 5.10 percent from 5.13 percent. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4 percent from 4.03 percent.

Adelphia Communications contends that founder John J. Rigas and his son Timothy, who were convicted of looting the cable company, must return as much as $23.8 million given them for legal fees because they lost their case.

A federal judge refused to dismiss shareholder lawsuits brought against Citigroup that claim WorldCom employees and other investors lost their life savings by trusting the advice of Jack B. Grubman, a former star analyst at Citigroup subsidiary Smith Barney.

The Securities and Exchange Commission barred Edward Strafaci, a former senior trader at Lipper Holdings, from the securities industry. The ruling came more than a month after Strafaci pleaded guilty to deceiving investors by overvaluing two Lipper hedge funds by hundreds of millions of dollars.

EBay said it will keep its Half.com subsidiary open indefinitely, scrapping previous plans to shutter the e-commerce site in mid-October. EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said that Half.com still generates revenue and that nearly half of all eBay transactions for books, music, video and games come from Half.com sellers.

INTERNATIONAL

Ireland will cut off direct-dialed calls to 13 nations -- mostly South Pacific islands -- in an attempt to deter criminals from breaking into people's computers and hijacking their modems for profit. The government-appointed Commission for Communications Regulation said it was obliged to act after receiving more than 300 complaints this year from Internet users who discovered when they got their phone bills that their connections had been altered without their knowledge.

RECALL

Delta Enterprise is recalling about 81,000 children's director chairs because they can be assembled incorrectly so that the fabric seat can come off and expose metal support rods, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The chairs, which feature popular children's characters, were sold for about $10 from April through July. The model numbers are TC83536WG, TC83531DO, TC83533PS and TC83532SB. Consumers can contact Delta at 877-660-3777.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Educate, the operator of Sylvan Learning Centers, sold 15 million shares at $11 apiece during its initial public offering, according to an amended regulatory filing. The stock was expected to begin trading yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol EEEE.

Lockheed Martin said it will build and maintain an automated fingerprint-identification system for the Department of Defense under a five-year contract worth $5 million in the first year.

General Dynamics said the Navy gave the Falls Church defense contractor's advanced information systems unit a $50 million engineering and support contract for the Trident II ship-based ballistic missile system.

EARNINGS

Topps said fiscal second-quarter profit fell 31 percent, to $3.7 million, from $5.3 million in the same quarter a year earlier, as confectionery sales declined and the company decided not to release National Hockey League trading cards. Revenue fell 6 percent, to $68.8 million.

Rite Aid reported a second-quarter profit of $9.8 million, compared with a loss of $10.6 million in the same quarter a year earlier, citing better cash flow and a reduction in inventory expenses. Revenue increased 1.8 percent, to $4.12 billion. The company also announced the completion of a refinancing that it said reduced its debt by $634 million, to about $3.2 billion.

PalmSource, a developer of handheld computing software, said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $165,000, from $3.8 million in the same quarter a year earlier, on a surge in smartphone sales that offset declining revenue from Sony's withdrawal of its Clie handheld computer from markets outside of Japan. Revenue grew 6 percent, to $18.2 million.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.

PeopleSoft is offering $100,000 credits on some software purchases and providing free services to encourage clients to upgrade before their support contracts end in February. PeopleSoft, the world's No. 2 maker of business-management software, is courting customers as it fights a takeover by Oracle. Also, Oracle extended its latest bid to Oct. 8. The 15-month bid has cost PeopleSoft more than $1 billion in lost sales as of the second quarter, the company said in a lawsuit.