Chevron Profit Up 12%

Chevron's third-quarter profit rose 12 percent, the smallest gain among major U.S. oil companies, as hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico reduced production.

Profit climbed to $3.59 billion as revenue rose 34 percent, to $54.5 billion. Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina and Rita shut Chevron's largest refinery and idled offshore wells, reducing profit by $600 million. Storm-related losses more than outweighed output gains from Chevron's $17.8 billion purchase of Unocal in August.


FCC Delays Action on Phone Deals

The Federal Communications Commission postponed until Monday a meeting to vote on two major telecommunications mergers. The FCC's four members continued to negotiate over conditions that may apply to SBC Communications' $16 billion purchase of AT&T and Verizon Communications' $8.5 billion acquisition of MCI, people familiar with the matter said.

Among concerns are that consumers and businesses might have to pay higher rates and that Internet access could be limited.


Fannie Mae Trims Portfolio by 5%

Fannie Mae said that its mortgage investment portfolio shrank by $40.5 billion, or 5 percent, to $727.8 billion in September. The government chartered mortgage finance company has been paring its investment holdings to help meet a 30 percent capital surplus the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight mandated after Fannie Mae violated accounting rules.

Top Fidelity Investor Sells Shares

Fidelity Investments said Abigail P. Johnson, its largest shareholder and a leading candidate to succeed her father, Edward C. Johnson III, as chief executive, sold some of her voting stake in the mutual fund firm to family trusts. The transaction was part of the Johnson family's estate planning and succession process and did not reduce its 49 percent stake in the Boston-based company, a Fidelity spokeswoman said.


3rd-Quarter Labor Costs Up 0.8%

U.S. labor costs rose 0.8 percent in the third quarter as companies limited salary gains to preserve profits, the Labor Department said. Wages were up 2.3 percent from a year earlier, the smallest year-to-year increase since recordkeeping began in 1981.


Scrushy Pleads Not Guilty

Former HealthSouth Corp. chief executive Richard M. Scrushy pleaded not guilty to bribery and fraud charges. Scrushy allegedly gave $500,000 to former Alabama governor Don Siegelman's unsuccessful lottery campaign in return for an appointment to a state hospital regulatory board in 1999. The former governor and three other former state officials were indicted earlier.

Bennett Seeks to Alter Bail

Phillip R. Bennett, 57, the former Refco chief executive charged with hiding a $430 million debt, asked a judge to accept a bond guarantee from Bennett's wife and son. Another judge had ordered him to post $5 million in cash and a $50 million bond, guaranteed by six people. Prosecutors said only Bennett's wife had guaranteed the bond.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Esseks said the government thought that Bennett might flee.

Seattle Gets Google Case

A federal judge ruled that Google's attempt to invalidate a contract prohibiting former Microsoft vice president Kai-Fu Lee from working on some Google projects should be resolved in a Seattle court. The judge also granted Microsoft's request to delay Google's suit until a related case in a Washington state court is resolved.

Google hired Lee away from Microsoft to develop business in China.

Buffett's Company Wins Tax Suit

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to pay Warren E. Buffett's investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, more than $23 million for disallowing some deductions.

The original lawsuit, filed in 2002, said the IRS wrongly assessed more than $16 million in taxes and interest against Berkshire in 1989 and 1990. A second lawsuit said the IRS wrongly assessed it nearly $7 million in 1991.

Buffett is a Washington Post Co. director.


SUV Latches Prone to Corrosion

General Motors recalled about 100,000 sport-utility vehicles in 20 Northern states because corrosion can affect latches on the two back-seat doors, potentially allowing the doors to open while the vehicles are driven. The recall involves the 2002-2003 models of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL, and the 2003 Isuzu Ascender.

Archer Daniels Midland said profit in its fiscal first quarter fell 30 percent, to $186.3 million, because its agricultural services unit was disrupted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Sales in the quarter ended Sept. 30 fell 4 percent, to $8.63 billion.

Bristol-Myers Squibb said its third-quarter profit increased 27 percent, to $964 million, largely on a $569 million gain from the sale of its U.S. and Canadian nonprescription medicine business. Revenue decreased slightly to $4.77 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.