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Ex-Qwest boss wants acquittal or new trial

Joe Nacchio wants a judge to acquit him or grant him a new trial in a new city, claiming the jury that convicted the former Qwest chief executive of insider trading in April was exposed to damaging pretrial publicity.

Defense attorneys also advised the judge late Monday that Nacchio has set aside as much as $52 million in the event U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham requires him to forfeit any money as a result of his conviction.

In a series of briefs, lead defense attorney Herbert Stern said it was impossible for Nacchio to receive a fair trial in Denver, an argument he supported with hundred of pages of newspaper clippings and broadcast transmissions detailing developments of the case.

Nearly 80 percent of the jurors and alternate jurors who heard evidence acknowledged hearing about the case when they were questioned during the selection process, but Nottingham denied a defense request to move the trial, Stern said.


Airline industry raises many one-way fares

The airline industry boosted many one-way fares by up to $10 late Monday, as carriers struggle with weakening domestic results, though most have had scant success in making increases stick recently.

Late Monday, Continental Airlines raised one-way fares in 30 percent of the top U.S. markets by $5 for advanced-purchase tickets and by $10 for last-minute seats, reported farecompare.com, an airfare tracking Web site. That triggered competitors American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways to match on overlapping routes, as well on some routes out of hub airports.

Regulators may sue to block merger

U.S. antitrust regulators plan to sue to block the proposed merger between Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets, the largest and second- largest natural-foods grocers.

Whole Foods, which agreed to buy Wild Oats for $565 million in February, said it will “vigorously challenge” the Federal Trade Commission in court and continue to pursue Wild Oats.

The agency is concerned that the combined company will control too much of the U.S. natural-foods market and increase prices.


Investigation into tax preparer widened

The federal government has widened its probe into whether the nation’s No. 2 tax return preparer helped customers file fraudulent returns to get bigger refunds.

One large franchisee of Jackson Hewitt Tax Services was accused of fraud two months ago, and the company hired a former Internal Revenue Service commissioner to review the allegations.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week, Jackson Hewitt said the IRS is investigating the corporation and all of its franchisee and company-owned stores. The company has 5,778 franchisee-operated offices and owns another 723 offices nationwide.


General Mills plans to raise prices on cereals

General Mills said Tuesday that it will raise cereal prices to match increases by competitors, but investors sent its shares down more than 3 percent, and one analyst downgraded the stock.

General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe said customers should see lower prices per box, but the boxes will be smaller, so the effect is a price increase of a few percent. The new prices take effect June 25.

General Mills competitor Kellogg Co. said in April that it had raised prices by 5 percent based on weight.

Honda Motor will stop making Accord hybrids

Honda Motor Co., the world’s second-largest maker of gasoline-electric cars, will stop making hybrid versions of its Accord sedan this year in line with plans to only use the technology for smaller vehicles.

The automaker will introduce the redesigned Accord later this year in North America without offering a hybrid version, said David Iida, a U.S. spokesman for the company. Honda had sold a total of 24,600 hybrid Accords worldwide by the end of last year. The model went on sale in 2004.

The automaker plans to introduce diesel vehicles including the Odyssey minivan and Accord sedans in the United States by 2009. It also plans to sell vehicles with diesel engines in Japan by 2009.

Downgrade sends Trump shares skidding

Shares of Trump Entertainment Resorts, fell as much as 6.97 after Bear Stearns & Co. downgraded the stock on skepticism that a bid will emerge at a premium to the current stock price.

The stock declined $1.12 to close at $14.94.

Trump said May 17 it formed a committee to consider takeover offers it had received. On March 12, the company said it hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to study options for its three casinos.

Trump, which has a stock market value of $499 million, hasn’t been profitable since exiting bankruptcy in May 2005.


Services report pushes bond prices lower

A robust report on the U.S. services sector pushed U.S. Treasury bond prices lower Tuesday, propelling the two-year Treasury note’s yield to a nine-month high of 5 percent.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was down $4.69 per $1,000 in face value, or 0.47 points, from its level at 5 p.m. Monday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, rose to 5 percent from 4.93 percent.

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