Business & Finance

Bank of America, the third-largest in the US, said Monday it has commissioned an outside review of mutual fund trades with Canary Capital Partners LLC and is prepared to reimburse any shareholder losses. The bank, based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of several whose dealings with the multimillion-dollar hedge fund are under investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Canary agreed last week to a $40 million settlement on charges of illegal trading. The US Justice Department also plans to join the inquiry, The Wall Street Journal reported.

IBM announced a breakthrough in technology that could result in computer chips that work up to 65 percent faster - and require less electricity - than those currently in use. The company suggested such chips may be on the market within a few years. The advance involves the use of strained silicon and dual silicon layering for key transistors in CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) devices, which are used in everything from cellphones to supercomputers.

Rivals and critics won a key round in the fight over a proposed alliance between Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand when Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission rejected it. The panel agreed with opponents that - despite the offer of concessions by the would-be partners to make the deal more palatable - it would result in increased fares and create a virtual monopoly in the regional travel market. The proposal calls for Qantas to buy a 22.5 percent stake in struggling Air New Zealand, for the carriers to place directors on each others' boards, and for the combining of some operations. Qantas executives expressed dismay at the ruling and said they may appeal it to the Competition Tribunal, a review board. New Zea-land's Commerce Commission is expected to issue its decision on the alliance by month's end.

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