Durable goods orders declined in August, largely weighed down by a sharp drop in demand for commercial airplanes. The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods -- costly manufactured products expected to last at least three years -- declined by 0.5 percent, following a 1.8 percent increase in July. However, when transportation equipment was excluded from the measure, durable-goods orders rose by 2.3 percent, compared with a flat reading in July.

Existing-Home Sales Fell in August

Sales of previously owned homes fell for a second month in August. The 6.54 million-unit annualized rate for August was down 2.7 percent, from a 6.72 million pace in July, the National Association of Realtors said. June's 6.92 million pace was the highest ever.


Morningstar is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to properly correct data it published about a mutual fund, the investment research firm said. The Chicago company received a Wells notice in May saying the SEC might bring a civil action against it for violating securities laws, a spokeswoman said. In a letter yesterday to customers, Morningstar's chairman said the investigation relates to total return data it reported for the Rock Canyon Top Flight Fund in February and early March.

Cogent shares rose nearly 50 percent in its trading debut after it priced its initial public offering at the high end of an increased range. The South Pasadena, Calif., maker of automated fingerprint systems sold 18 million shares at $12 each, raising about $216 million, and began trading yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol COGT.

A federal bankruptcy judge sided with unions who said United Airlines submitted unsubstantiated claims about how employees would be affected if their pension programs were terminated. Judge Eugene Wedoff granted a motion filed by United's machinists and flight attendants, striking the filing from the record. In the filing, United said its pension plans are in far better financial condition than previously estimated and that the impact of terminating them would be less than initially feared.

A federal judge overturned a law making it a crime to sell bootleg concert recordings because it doesn't limit the life of copyrights. Judge Harold Baer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York made the ruling in a case involving a man arrested by federal agents last year for selling old concert tapes from a store, Web site and catalogue. U.S. copyright law limits protection of work to the life of the author plus 70 years.

The New York Stock Exchange said the lawsuit against its former chief, Dick Grasso, belongs in state court. In May, New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer sued Grasso, who ran the exchange until September 2003, to recover more than $100 million in compensation he received from the exchange. A month later, Grasso had the case moved to federal court. Grasso argued that the NYSE, as a self-regulatory organization, is supervised by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal agency.

Continental Airlines is matching competitors American and Northwest in raising many round-trip fares by $10 to help offset higher fuel costs. Leading discount carrier Southwest said it would not change its fares.

Intel said it canceled a feature for wireless Internet access in its latest chipset for personal computers because customers weren't interested in it. No computer makers bought the version of the chipset, known as Grantsdale, that included the option for a built-in wireless connection, the company said. Consumers are using external devices to create wireless networks in the home instead, often taking advantage of free equipment offered by Internet service providers, Intel said.

Timothy J. Rigas, the former Adelphia Communications chief executive convicted of fraud and conspiracy along with his father, John J. Rigas, hired a new lawyer for his appeal. Rigas retained John W. Nields, who has high-profile experience in Washington. Nields was chief counsel to the House Iran-contra investigation committee. Also, he defended former associate attorney general Webster L. Hubbell against indictments brought by special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr in the Whitewater investigation.


Boston Scientific recalled about 440 cochlear ear implants that may stop working because of moisture inside the devices' circuitry. The devices, which are surgically fitted into the middle ear, were made by Boston Scientific unit Advanced Bionics and sold under the Clarion and HiResolution brands. Implanted devices that malfunction will need to be taken out and replaced, the company said.

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