LEGAL

Judge Exonerates Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch did not defraud Allegheny Energy when the investment bank sold its energy-trading unit four years ago and is owed $115 million from the 2001 transaction, a federal judge said. U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. ruled that Merrill Lynch did not deceive the Greensburg, Pa., electric utility holding company about the global energy markets subsidiary's revenue before the sale. Allegheny had been seeking to recover $490 million it paid, plus interest.

AUTOMOTIVE

Nissan Recalls Murano SUVs

Nissan North America is recalling more than 140,000 Murano sport-utility vehicles because a wire in the alternator could break, which could deplete power to the engine.

The recall involves vehicles from the 2003 to 2005 model years and is expected to begin Aug. 3. Dealers will be instructed to inspect and replace the alternator with a version that has been upgraded to prevent the problem. Owners can contact Nissan at 800-647-7261.

EARNINGS

Citigroup Results Off the Mark

Citigroup said it earned $5.07 billion (91 cents a share), up from $1.14 billion in the comparable period last year. The year-ago period included a gain on the sale of Citigroup's stake in the Saudi Arabia-based Samba Financial Group as well as a nearly $5 billion charge for the bank's settlement of WorldCom litigation. Revenue fell, to $20.17 billion from $20.86 billion. The earnings missed Wall Street expectations of $1.02 a share; Citigroup attributed the results to a tough bond market.

Bank of America Profit Up 12%

Bank of America said its second-quarter profit increased 12 percent, to $4.3 billion, on growth in debit and credit cards and cost savings from its purchase of FleetBoston Financial. Revenue rose 7 percent, to $14.21 billion.

Restructuring Hits MBNA Profit

MBNA said second-quarter profit declined 4.3 percent, to $632.1 million, as it took a $14.4 million pretax charge from restructuring. The credit card issuer's total sales and cash advance volume grew 9.6 percent year-to-year, to $56.95 billion from $51.96 billion.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Competing for Maytag

Whirlpool chief executive Jeff M. Fettig said that potential antitrust challenges surrounding its bid for rival Maytag could be surmounted and that his company's $1.37 billion offer, announced Sunday night, represents the "best opportunity to address Maytag's needs."

Whirlpool's $17-a-share bid tops a $14-a-share proposal that the Maytag board accepted in May from Triton Acquisition Holding, an investment group. Last month, Iowa-based Maytag said it also was considering a preliminary $1.28 billion bid from Chinese appliance maker Haier Group, along with Bain Capital and Blackstone Group, that valued Maytag at $16 per share.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 3.22 percent from 3.135 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 3.42 percent from 3.355 percent. The actual return to investors was 3.292 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,918.61, and 3.529 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,827.10. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 3.59 percent last week from 3.52 percent the previous week.

Compiled from staff and news service reports

Concerns about its alternator prompted the Murano's recall.