Panel Endorses SEC Nominees

Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), the White House's pick for chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, won the unanimous endorsement of the Senate Banking Committee, sending his nomination to the full Senate for a confirmation vote, which could come before the August recess. The committee also approved the nominations of Roel C. Campos and Annette L. Nazareth to the two Democratic seats on the five-member board.

The committee also approved the nominations of John C. Dugan to be head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, John M. Reich to lead the Office of Thrift Supervision and Martin J. Gruenberg to become vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.


WorldCom Settlement Approved

A judge gave her blessing to a deal under which former WorldCom finance chief Scott D. Sullivan will forfeit his Florida mansion and his retirement account to settle with investors who lost billions when the company was toppled by a fraud scandal. U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote granted preliminary approval to the settlement two weeks before Sullivan is likely be sentenced to prison time for his role in the $11 billion WorldCom fraud.

She also gave approval to settlements with two other former WorldCom executives, controller David F. Myers and accounting director Buford T. Yates Jr., the final defendants in a class-action suit that has netted more than $6 billion for investors.


Wal-Mart Faces EEOC Probe

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission is investigating claims that Wal-Mart Stores violated a 2001 settlement barring discrimination against disabled workers, an EEOC attorney said. The new investigation was sparked by Wal-Mart managers' testimony in a recent New York suit successfully brought by a man with cerebral palsy.

"Over the years, we've had complaints, but some of the stuff we're now seeing bears looking into," EEOC attorney Mary J. O'Neill said. If Wal-Mart is found in violation, it will have 45 days to comply, the agreement says.

Wal-Mart spokesman Marty Heires said the company hasn't violated the agreement.


Morgan Stanley to Cut 1,000 Jobs

Morgan Stanley, which has been struggling to increase the size and productivity of its broker force, said in a memo to employees that it plans to eliminate about 10 percent, or 1,000, of its brokers in the next few months. The memo, written by Zoe Cruz, the acting president, also said it is slowing down its training program for new brokers, focusing instead on recruiting "experienced brokers who are focused on serving high net-worth individuals."


More Acela Service to Resume

Amtrak said it will bring more high-speed Acela Express trains back into service on Aug. 1, adding three weekday round trips between New York and Washington and two between Boston and New York. The additions will bring the New York-Washington total to nine and the Boston-Washington total to three, the railroad said in a statement. Amtrak began restoring service July 11 after an interruption of almost three months to repair defective brake parts.


UAL Posts Larger Loss

UAL, United Airlines' parent company, said its second-quarter loss widened, to $1.43 billion from $247 million in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Most of that increase was related to its ongoing effort to exit bankruptcy this fall. Revenue increased 5.6 percent, to $4.42 billion.

Excluding $1.4 billion in reorganization costs, United's operating earnings grew to $48 million from $7 million -- despite $262 million in higher fuel costs. Chief executive Glenn Tilton pointed to United's revenue growth and 3 percent reduction in non-fuel costs as signs that the airline has become more competitive.

Real Estate Sale Boosts MetLife

MetLife's second-quarter profit jumped 135 percent, to a record $2.25 billion from $954 million, as the New York-based insurance company recorded $1.2 billion of gains from the sale of real estate. Revenue grew nearly 16 percent, to $10.95 billion.

Aetna Sales Rise With Enrollment

Aetna said second-quarter profit rose 43 percent, to $409.7 million. Revenue at the health insurer rose 13 percent, to $5.5 billion on increased medical and dental enrollment, as Aetna promoted plans designed to help employers slow the growth of health care expenses.

Loews Profit Climbs 6 Percent

Loews, the diverse company run by New York's Tisch family, said second-quarter earnings rose 6 percent, to $433.8 million, on gains in oil drilling, hotels and cigarettes.

Revenue for the quarter rose 3 percent, to $4.03 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

A Senate panel unanimously approved the nominations of Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), left, as the new SEC chairman, and Roel C. Campos and Annette L. Nazareth as commissioners.