Disney, Pixar Talking Again

Walt Disney Co. is again talking to Pixar about an extension of their agreement under which Disney distributes the computer-animation studio's movies, Disney President Roger A. Iger said at a Deutsche Bank conference in New York. Pixar last year called off talks to extend the partnership, which is to end next year with "Cars."


Consumer Debt Growth Slows

U.S. consumer debt increased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in April, the slowest increase in five months. The April increase, $1.3 billion, was significantly less the $7.5 billion increase that many analysts had been expecting.


SEC Urged to Improve Records

The Securities and Exchange Commission's process for referring enforcement cases to criminal prosecutors is hampered by poor recordkeeping, the Government Accountability Office said in a report. The SEC agreed with the finding and said it would produce an online form to track referrals.

The GAO also said the SEC should require members of its examination staff to report where they plan to work after they leave the agency, as other financial regulators do.


Sihpol Jury Stuck on 13 Counts

The jury considering late-trading charges against former Bank of America broker Theodore C. Sihpol III told the judge that it reached a verdict on 20 of 33 counts but is split 11 to 1 on the remaining 13. The presiding judge told the jurors that he will not accept a partial verdict. Sihpol's trial is the first to arise from New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer's investigation of the mutual fund industry.

Adelphia Creditors Fight Deal

Creditors of Adelphia Communications, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the conviction of accounting firm Arthur Andersen, asked a judge to reconsider approval of the company's $715 million settlement of a suit by federal regulators. Adelphia has said the settlement was necessary because it shields Adelphia from criminal prosecution. But the bankrupt company's committee of unsecured creditors said in a filing that the Andersen ruling shows the government couldn't file charges against Adelphia and that the settlement "should be reconsidered and vacated."


Nasdaq, Reuters Join Forces

The Nasdaq Stock Market and Reuters Group will form a joint venture to offer independent analyst coverage for companies that are not widely followed.

The Independent Research Network will provide clients with three independent research reports on companies. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the new venture has yet to sign any agreements with research firms.

About half of publicly held companies have two or fewer analysts and about 35 percent have no analyst coverage.

Hedge Funds Recover

Hedge funds gained an average 1.14 percent in May, rebounding from a 1.52 percent loss in April that was the worst in a year, according to Hedge Fund Research of Chicago. In early May, financial markets were rattled by speculation that some funds had big losses and might close from unprofitable trades caused by the downgrade of General Motors's debt to junk status. There was no widespread collapse, and stock and bond prices have rallied since. For the first five months of 2005, hedge funds rose 0.33 percent.


Sara Lee to Close Plants

Sara Lee chief executive Brenda C. Barnes said the company would spend $1 billion to close factories, eliminate jobs and upgrade computer systems. She wants to boost bakery earnings by focusing production on fast-growing lines such as Delightful and Heart Healthy breads and bagels.

Prudential Financial received a subpoena from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal seeking information on a type of reinsurance that can be abused to mask losses.

ImClone Systems said financier Carl C. Icahn filed with antitrust regulators for clearance to invest more than $100 million in the company, including already acquired shares. The filing sets an investment ceiling of $500 million.

From staff and news service reports.

"Cars" is the last scheduled Disney-Pixar film.