McCartney to Pitch Fidelity Funds
Fidelity Investments, the largest U.S. mutual fund management company, said Paul McCartney will be featured as part of a national advertising campaign.
Fidelity is co-sponsoring the former Beatle's 11-week U.S. concert tour, which starts Sept. 16 in Miami. Fidelity hired Havas's Arnold Worldwide to produce the television ads.
U.S. Productivity Growth Slows
U.S. worker productivity increased less than expected from April through June, and hiring and labor costs accelerated.
Productivity, a measure of how much an employee produces for every hour worked, rose at a revised 1.8 percent annual rate in the second quarter, compared with 3.2 percent the first three months of the year, the Labor Department said.
Labor costs increased 2.5 percent and were up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, the biggest rise since the third quarter of 2000. Gains in wages and labor costs, which account for two-thirds of the cost of goods and services, threaten to push up inflation as energy prices remain high.
Investors Sue Hedge Fund
A Jewish philanthropy organization is seeking more than $4 million in a lawsuit against a hedge fund under state and federal investigation, while another investor called the fund a massive fraud and a classic Ponzi scheme.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is suing Stamford-based Bayou Securities and its executives in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Conn. The other investor, Multi-Dimension Fund, has filed a lawsuit in New York state Supreme Court against Bayou and its accounting firm, Richmond-Fairfield Associates. Multi-Dimension has been unable to recover nearly $2 million from the fund.
Prosecutors have sought to freeze Bayou Securities' assets, saying they are proceeds of mail, wire and securities fraud. Bayou executives have not returned telephone messages seeking comment.
Northwest, Union to Resume Talks
Northwest Airlines said it tentatively plans to resume talks with striking mechanics. The airline's announcement came one day after it told the union it would begin hiring permanent replacement workers later this month.
But prospects for a deal were uncertain, with the airline saying it needs even bigger cuts than the ones mechanics went on strike over. Northwest's 4,400 mechanics, cleaners and custodians walked out on Aug. 20 rather than accept 25 percent pay cuts and layoffs of some 2,000 workers.
States Sue U.S. Over Standards
Fifteen states and New York City sued the U.S. Department of Energy for failing to enact stronger energy standards required by Congress for 22 common appliances.
The suit, led by New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer, claims the federal agency has failed to set tougher energy requirements for manufacturers that would save electricity, natural gas and oil. Some deadlines set by Congress lapsed years ago, the state officials said. They estimate that if the standards were set, the annual energy savings would meet the total energy needs of 3 million to 12 million American households.
Gates Increases Berkshire Stake
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates increased his stake in friend and fellow billionaire Warren E. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, adding 90 shares for a total of about $7.5 million.
Gates now owns 3,730 shares of Berkshire, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He paid between $82,680 and $83,200 for each of the shares, the filing showed. The transactions make Gates, who became a Berkshire director in December, the company's 16th-largest shareholder, according to Bloomberg data.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Nasdaq to Buy Insurance Broker
The Nasdaq Stock Market said it would buy San Francisco-based Carpenter Moore Insurance Services, a privately held insurance brokerage firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The purchase would expand services Nasdaq provides through its subsidiary, Nasdaq Insurance Agency. Carpenter Moore specializes in helping companies find insurance policies for executives and directors. Such insurance has increased in cost following the corporate scandals of the past several years. Nasdaq formerly co-owned its insurance subsidiary with American International Group but bought out AIG's 50 percent stake in January.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.