Business & Finance

Japanese carmakers claimed over 30 percent of the US auto market for the first time last year, the Financial Times reported Wednesday. Toyota and Nissan sold a record number of vehicles in the US, increasing sales in the world's largest auto market by 10 percent and 24 percent respectively. American carmaking giants General Motors and Ford saw decreased sales, despite significant price cuts.

For several corporate executives, past and present, Tuesday was a rough day:

• The former vice-chairman of Cendant, E. Kirk Shelton, was convicted in a US district court in Hartford, Conn., of fraud and conspiracy connected with an accounting probe at the world's largest hotel franchisor. Prosecutors, however, were unable to get a conviction against former chairman Walter Forbes, whose case was declared a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict. Shelton, who will be sentenced in March, faces as much as 40 years in jail.

• James Zimmerman, the former CEO of Federated Department Stores, the parent company of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, was indicted on a charge of perjury by the New York State attorney general's office, which accused him of lying under oath during a probe into anticompetitive behavior by the company. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty.

• US regulators charged TV Azteca, Mexico's No. 2 broadcaster, and chairman Ricardo Salinas, with fraud, accusing the controversial businessman of pocketing $109 million in a debt scam. The suit seeks to bar Salinas from involvement with companies whose shares sell on an American exchange.

Delta Air Lines Inc. will cut airfares by up to 50 percent, the No. 3 US carrier said Wednesday. The new pricing program caps one-way fares at $499 and $599 for economy- and first-class tickets, respectively. Northwest Airlines warned Tuesday that the move, designed to help Delta recover more than $6 billion in accumulated losses, would negatively impact industry revenue.

Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb is in discussions with several interested parties about the possible sale of its consumer-medicines business, valued at $1 billion, The New York Times said Wednesday.

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