MEDIA

Ailes to Run News Corp. Stations

News Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. media company, gave Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes control of its 35 television stations, filling a job that will be vacated by Lachlan Murdoch when he leaves at the end of the month.

Ailes, left, will report to both News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, the New York-based company said in a statement. As head of Fox News since it was created nine years ago, Ailes took the start-up to become the top-rated news network on cable.

Lachlan Murdoch had overseen the stations as deputy chief operating officer. The company announced on July 29 that Lachlan planned to resign and move with his wife and son to Australia.

HOUSING

2nd-Quarter Home Sales Robust

U.S. median home prices increased 13.6 percent in the second quarter, compared with the corresponding period a year ago, the fastest rate of increase in more than 25 years, the National Association of Realtors said in a report.

The median price of an existing single-family home rose to $208,500, from $183,500, the report said. Sales of existing houses and condominiums gained 4.6 percent, to an annualized pace of 7.22 million units, the highest ever.

Single-family houses in the metropolitan New York area rose 18 percent, to a median price of $452,700, and the metropolitan Washington area gained 26 percent, $429,200, the report said.

EARNINGS

Lowe's Gains on Housing Market

Home-improvement retailer Lowe's, buoyed by the nation's expanding housing market, said second-quarter profit rose 20 percent from the corresponding quarter a year earlier, to $838 million. Revenue for the three months ended July 29 rose 17 percent, to $11.93 billion.

LEGAL

Eavesdropping Scheme Alleged

U.S. officials filed criminal charges and civil lawsuits against former Citigroup, Lehman Brothers Holdings and Merrill Lynch brokers, claiming they allowed a day trader to eavesdrop on conversations with institutional clients. John J. Amore, 42, former chief executive of the A.B. Watley Group, paid the brokers to give him access to the firms' "squawk boxes," internal intercom systems used to communicate buy and sell orders, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. Amore then took positions in anticipation of market movements that followed the trades.

The U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York filed criminal charges against four brokers: Ralph D. Casbarro, formerly of Citigroup; David G. Ghysels, formerly of Lehman Brothers; Kenneth E. Mahaffy, formerly of Merrill and Citigroup; and Timothy J. O'Connell, formerly of Merrill. The SEC sued the brokers and Amore.

AUTOMAKERS

GM Calls for Engine Tech Support

General Motors has turned to Stanford University and the world's largest maker of auto parts, German firm Robert Bosch, to help develop technology that it says could make gasoline engines 20 percent more efficient and diesel engines cleaner.

GM, which has been working on the technology for 25 years, and a unit of Bosch will together spend $2.5 million to develop, with Stanford's help, the sensors and other parts needed to make the technology work outside the laboratory, Paul Najt, a senior GM researcher said.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday increased to 3.47 percent, from 3.46 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 3.705 percent from 3.68 percent. The actual return to investors is 3.549 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,912.29, and 3.828 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,812.69. 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 3.9 percent last week from 3.84 percent the previous week.

International investors increased their holdings of U.S. assets in June by $71.2 billion, the most in four months, led by record purchases of corporate bonds. Investors' acquisitions of Treasury notes, corporate bonds, stocks and other financial assets compared with $55.8 billion in May, the Treasury Department said. Investors bought a net $7.9 billion of Treasuries, the least since September 2003, after a large sale by banking centers in the Caribbean, where many hedge funds are based. Falling yields on government debt may have prompted investors abroad to seek higher returns by purchasing riskier assets, such as U.S. corporate bonds.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.