AUTOMOTIVE

GM, Daimler Get SEC Subpoenas

General Motors said it received subpoenas issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of an investigation of the company's pension accounting and transactions between GM and bankrupt auto-parts maker Delphi.

The automaker's finance unit, General Motors Acceptance Corp., is also being probed in connection with an investigation of the insurance industry, examining so-called finite risk insurance products, GM said. The company is cooperating with the SEC inquiries, according to GM spokesman Jerry Dubrowski.

DaimlerChrysler said in a regulatory filing that it had received SEC subpoenas last month seeking information about how the company calculates pension benefits for North American employees. DaimlerChrysler said the SEC had also asked for DaimlerChrysler's communications with GM, Ford and auto supplier Delphi regarding its methods for calculating benefits. "We will provide the SEC with the requested information," Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber said.

Lear Blames Loss on Writedown

Lear said it lost $750.1 million in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $91.7 million in the year-ago period, as it wrote down the value of its automotive interiors unit that billionaire investor Wilbur Ross plans to spin off into a new company. Sales rose slightly, to $4 billion.

Lear has lost money for four quarters during a slump in sport-utility vehicle sales, a spike in raw material prices and changes in how automakers are buying parts. The Southfield, Mich.-based company will take part in a joint venture formed by Ross, who hopes to buy other parts suppliers.

LEGAL

Waksal Must Serve Full Term

A federal judge refused to toss out the seven-year prison term that Samuel D. Waksal, the former ImClone Systems chief executive, is serving for insider trading. Waksal's lawyers argued in a New York federal court that he was entitled to seek a shorter sentence because the guidelines under which he was sentenced are no longer binding on judges. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January that the guidelines are only advisory.

MARKETS

Refco Sale Lacks Opening Bidder

Refco, which filed for bankruptcy protection last week, will go ahead with an auction of its regulated brokerage in November without an opening bidder.

Refco decided to proceed without what is sometimes called a "stalking horse" bid after J.C. Flowers on Monday backed out of an agreement to fill the role in a dispute over fees. Refco will auction the business on Nov. 9. At least seven companies, including Merrill Lynch and Interactive Brokers Group, have shown interest in acquiring all or part of Refco.

The absence of a stalking-horse bidder leaves Refco without a signed purchase agreement, a guaranteed buyer or a minimum price for its assets.

Boeing, aided by a large tax benefit and strong operating results but hurt by a strike by assembly workers, reported third-quarter profit of $1.01 billion, up 122 percent from the $456 million reported in the corresponding period last year. Revenue declined 4 percent, to $12.63 billion from $13.15 billion. The company raised its estimates for earnings in both 2005 and 2006.

Anheuser-Busch said its third-quarter profit fell 24 percent, to $518.2 million from $684.4 million, as price cuts on Budweiser and Michelob failed to win back drinkers in the United States. Revenue was little changed at $4.09 billion, up from $4.08 billion, the company said.

WellPoint, the nation's largest health insurer, said third-quarter profit soared 164 percent, to $640.7 million from $242.1 million, as the company continued to reap the benefits of last year's merger with Anthem. Comparable-basis revenue -- as if the combined company had been in place at the beginning of last year's third quarter -- rose 5.6 percent, to $11.3 billion.

Exelon, a Midwestern utility company that is expanding into the East, said third-quarter profit rose 28 percent, to $725 million from $568 million, as hotter weather stoked demand for cooling. Revenue rose 19 percent, to $4.47 billion.

Taser International, a maker of electric stun guns, said third-quarter profit plunged 96 percent, to $270,945, from $6.13 million in the year-ago period, as safety concerns hurt sales to police departments. Revenue fell 38 percent, to $11.7 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Taser's claims about the safety of its stun guns, which incapacitate people by delivering 50,000 volts of electricity.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

Donna Ramsey moves transmissions at a GM plant in Ypsilanti, Mich. GM said it is cooperating with SEC probes of its pension accounting and its transactions with auto-parts maker Delphi.