Airlines discount fares
Major airlines yesterday announced a weeklong 30 percent average discount for fares between 16 U.S. cities and the rest of the country, and delayed an increase planned for tomorrow. Continental Airlines, which is trying to attract passengers while it works to complete its bankruptcy reorganization, started the discounting.
Major airlines generally matched the cuts that offer discounts between Monday and Oct. 19 for trips through Dec. 15. The fares require a seven-day advance purchase. Dates around Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, 25, 29 and 30, are not included in the sale, announced a day after the prices were implemented.
Procter & Gamble optimistic
Procter & Gamble Co., the consumer products giant, said yesterday that first-quarter results for the period that ended Sept. 30 should hit record high levels. The company said earnings -- excluding the cost of the previously announced $200 million divestiture of its fruit juice business -- are "coming in somewhat better than expected." In last year's first quarter, the company reported net income of $536 million, or 76 cents a share, on sales of $7.21 billion.
German auto workers' hours cut
Volkswagen AG plans to put 13,500 workers in Germany on shortened shifts for two weeks in November and December, and Mercedes-Benz AG may extend its Christmas shutdown, the two car companies said yesterday. Both car makers said the moves were caused by weakening demand in the automobile industry, at home and abroad.
Lending guidelines adopted
Bowing to pressure from the Bush administration and industry not to worsen the credit crunch, regulators adopted liberal guidelines for real estate lending by banks.
The decision by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was a victory for the Treasury Department, which lobbied all four bank and thrift agencies with warnings that too-tough standards would harm economic growth.
The FDIC also proposed limiting deposit-insurance coverage on retirement savings, a move that puts a new burden on customers to keep their money in safe banks.
T-bill interest rises
Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities rose in yesterday's auction. The Treasury Department sold $11 billion in three-month bills at an average discount rate of 2.88 percent, up from 2.67 percent last week.
An additional $11 billion was sold in six-month bills at an average discount rate of 2.95 percent, up from 2.78 percent last week. The three-month bill rate was the highest since the bills sold for 2.91 percent Sept. 21. The six-month bill rate was the highest since Sept. 8, when it also averaged 2.95 percent.