AUTOMOTIVE

Chrysler to Drop Dodge Neon

After 11 years, Chrysler Group plans to end production of its low-priced Dodge Neon this week to make way for a sleek replacement. The last Neon is scheduled to roll off the line with little fanfare Friday at Chrysler's plant in Belvidere, Ill., company spokesman Ed Saenz said.

Chrysler, a unit of DaimlerChrysler, is spending $419 million to revamp the Belvidere production line so it can build multiple models, including the Dodge Caliber, which will replace the Neon. The Caliber is expected to go on sale early next year.

AIRLINES

ATA, Pilots Agree on Pay Cuts

ATA Airlines, which is seeking a $100 million investment to help it exit bankruptcy protection, reached an agreement with its pilots on pay concessions into 2008.

The accord extends pay cuts, about 18 percent compared with 2003 rates, to Sept. 30, 2008, the Air Line Pilots Association said. The contract, which also includes benefit reductions, gives ATA $40 million in savings next year, $44.5 million in 2007 and an undetermined amount in 2008, the ALPA said.

The contract, which preserves more pay and benefits than a proposal that ATA is seeking to impose in bankruptcy court, will take effect Oct. 1 if the airline's pilots vote in favor of it this month.

MUTUAL FUNDS

GAO Questions SEC Oversight

Congressional investigators have questioned the adequacy of inspections of mutual funds by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a few months after finding that the agency failed to uncover trading abuses throughout the fund industry that cost investors billions of dollars.

The Government Accountability Office, in a report released by Democratic Reps. Barney Frank (Mass.) and Paul E. Kanjorski (Pa.), said that the SEC has fewer examiners covering the mutual fund industry than it should and that funds deemed to be lower risk may not be inspected for 10 years or more.

The SEC has said that, with a limited budget to police the fund industry, it had pursued issues that were believed to represent the biggest risks to investors.

Carnival said its third-quarter profit rose 12 percent from the comparable period a year earlier, to $1.15 billion, as higher ticket prices and increased onboard sales drove growth. Revenue rose 11 percent, to $3.61 billion. The cruise ship operator said that it expects to miss expectations for the following quarter because of Hurricane Katrina but that its bookings for 2006 are ahead of a year ago.

Nike said its first-quarter profit grew 32 percent, to $432.3 million, as the world's largest sneaker and athletic apparel company posted sales gains across all regions and product units. Revenue climbed 8 percent, to $3.86 billion.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday increased to 3.495 percent from 3.45 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 3.715 percent from 3.67 percent. The annualized return to investors is 3.575 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,911.65, and 3.839 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,812.19. 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 3.82 percent last week from 3.76 percent the previous week.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.