IN BRIEF

NEW YORK

American Airlines will add time to flights

American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier, will add five to seven minutes to the time scheduled for each flight at its largest airports to reduce delays plaguing U.S. travel.

The airline, a unit of Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., will begin operations earlier and fly later each day to avoid dropping any flights from its schedule, said David Cush, senior vice president of global sales.

American ranked 13th of 19 carriers in on-time arrivals for the year ended in June. Only 73 percent of U.S. airline flights arrived on time in the first half of 2007, the worst rate since 1995, when the government began keeping comparable records.

Development activity gauge slips in quarter

The Southern Nevada Development Activity Index decreased to 144.7 in the second quarter, down from 149.13 in the first quarter, local research firm Applied Analysis reported.

The index measures changes in the real estate development pipeline.

It was the fourth consecutive quarter of declining value following a high market of 159.5 in second quarter 2006. The lower values indicate a decreasing volume of development activity within the market.

The largest contributors to the decline were housing units permitted and acres disturbed, or developed, under the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

NEW YORK

Gasoline prices rise after refinery report

Gas prices rose at the pump for the first time in weeks and energy futures jumped Wednesday after the government reported unexpected declines in refinery activity and inventories of gasoline and oil.

The price increases and inventory declines suggest the refining industry is easing back from what had been a scramble to produce more gasoline to supply the peak summer driving season, which ends this weekend.

Prices at the pump rose 1.3 cents Wednesday to a national average of $2.758 a gallon, AAA and the Oil Price Information Service reported.

Retail prices, which typically lag the futures market, peaked at $3.227 a gallon in late May.

SEATTLE

Microsoft will release package of updates

Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday it will release a major package of updates and fixes for the Windows Vista operating system in the first half of 2008.

The company said a “beta” test version of Service Pack 1 will be released “in a few weeks to a moderate sized audience.”

The service pack fixes some common problems that cause computers to crash or freeze, Microsoft said, including compatibility problems with some newer graphics cards.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

Alltel investors back $24.7 billion buyout

Alltel Corp. shareholders overwhelmingly approved a $24.7 billion buyout Wednesday that put the wireless company in the hands of two private investor groups.

Chief Executive Scott Ford presided over the two-minute meeting, which he described as “our final shareholders meeting.”

A tally counted 97.1 percent of the shares in favor of the takeover, Ford said, to mild cheers.

NEW YORK

Short-term paper demand lifts Treasuries

Continued robust demand for short-term paper set Treasury bills on a tear Wednesday.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was down $3.44 per $1,000 in face value, or 11/32 point, from its level at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, rose to 4.56 percent from 4.52 percent.

The 30-year bond fell 13/32 point. Its yield rose to 4.88 percent from 4.85 percent.

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