AIRLINES

Northwest Mechanics to Vote

Union leaders said they would let striking Northwest Airlines mechanics vote on the carrier's latest offer, which would save the jobs of only a fraction of those who walked out nearly two months ago.

As it now stands, the offer might preserve 500 of the 4,100 jobs that members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association held when they went on strike Aug. 20, the union said late Friday.

"This was AMFA's negotiating committee making a very difficult decision to allow the AMFA membership to have a say in this process," said Jeff Mathews, contract coordinator for the union.

ECONOMY

Retail Sales Up Last Month

U.S. retail sales rose 0.2 percent in September. The gain, limited by a drop in auto sales, followed a 1.9 percent decrease in August, the Commerce Department said. Excluding vehicles, sales rose 1.1 percent, the most since April and more than analysts had expected.

Retail sales account for almost half of all consumer spending, which in turn accounts for about two-thirds of the economy.

EMPLOYMENT

Northrop Grumman to Cut Jobs

Northrop Grumman said it will eliminate 400 manufacturing jobs at a Linthicum plant that makes military radar and electronics systems. Declining orders from domestic and foreign military customers were cited as the reason for the cuts.

The company said it will offer severance packages to 1,000 workers. If fewer than 400 people accept a buyout, Northrop said, it will resort to layoffs by Dec. 30.

GTSI to Reduce Staff 10%

GTSI, a Chantilly company that sells technology products to government agencies, said it will cut 90 employees from its staff of 900. The company said the reduction comes as it shifts focus from selling technology equipment such as printers, in bulk, to more specialized sales of complex information systems.

LEGAL

Former Energy Trader Sentenced

Daniel L. Gordon, once the top energy trader at Merrill Lynch, was sentenced to 42 months in prison for embezzling $43 million from the company.

Gordon, 29, pleaded guilty in 2003 to federal charges that he stole the money by creating a phony energy trade with an offshore company that he set up. He also admitted that he helped falsify records at a Merrill Lynch energy-trading unit before its sale.

RIM Tries to Stall Lawsuit

Research in Motion asked an appeals court to block any proceedings in a patent infringement lawsuit over its BlackBerry e-mail service while it appeals the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Canadian company is trying to overturn a finding that the BlackBerry service infringes patents owned by NTP, an Alexandria patent licensing firm. If the request is granted, it would keep the case from being sent back to a trial judge, who could order RIM to halt its BlackBerry service in the United States.

TAKEOVER ATTEMPT

Six Flags Sets Record Date

Six Flags set a record date of Oct. 24 in the proxy battle with Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder. Investors who hold stock in the company on that day will be able to vote on Snyder's takeover plan.

To win, Snyder, within 60 days of that date, must obtain a simple majority of votes in favor of his proposal to oust the current Six Flags management and install himself, former ESPN executive Mark Shapiro and local builder Dwight C. Schar, according to Richard Grubaugh of proxy advisory firm D.F. King.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Occidental to Buy Vintage

Occidental Petroleum agreed to buy Vintage Petroleum for $3.8 billion, including $550 million of debt. The cash-and-stock deal brings the Los Angeles-based oil and chemical company proved reserves that totaled the equivalent of 437 million barrels of at the end of 2004.

Harman International Industries said Chief Operating Officer Frank Meredith resigned. Because the company has gone from 30 divisions to three, there is "no longer a need or justification for a corporate COO, and the position has been eliminated," District-based Harman said.

Hewlett-Packard recalled the batteries in 135,000 HP and Compaq notebook computers because they may overheat and ignite.

Affected models include the HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, HP Compaq and Compaq Evo product lines.

General Electric said third-quarter profit rose 15 percent from the third quarter of 2004, to $4.68 billion. Revenue rose 9.4 percent, to $41.9 billion.

UnitedHealth Group said third-quarter profit rose 21 percent, to $842 million. Revenue rose 15 percent, to $11.3 billion.

Knight Ridder reported sharply higher profit on the sale of newspapers in Detroit and Tallahassee. Third-quarter profit more than tripled, to $253.2 million. Sales rose 2 percent, to $723.8 million.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.