Business & Finance

McDonald's is exploring ways to sell more than fast food, The Wall Street Journal reported. But the world's biggest restaurant chain offered no specifics, except to say it would try a variety of "extension" experiments over the next couple of years. Some retail experts suggested McDonald's, which serves 46 million people at more than 30,000 outlets daily, might sell small toys, videos, or stamps, or let customers browse for other products or services by computer.

Halliburton Co. said it has agreed to full cooperation with a preliminary investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of its accounting practices. In 1998, when Vice President Cheney was its chief executive, the Dallas-based oil industry services provider began recording cost-overruns as revenue in cases where it expected the money would be collected from customers even if the matter was still in dispute. That practice continues. A Halliburton executive told The Wall Street Journal his company believes it has met generally accepted accounting principles applicable to the construction industry but expects to be served with a request or even a subpoena for documents soon.

Vanguard Airlines became the first whose application for a federal loan guarantee in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was turned down. The low-fare carrier had sought $15 million from the Air Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB) but "did not provide reasonable assurance that [it] will be able to repay," the panel said. Kansas City, Mo.-based Vanguard said it was working with the ATSB to revise the request. Meanwhile, US Airways Group is preparing an application for a $1 billion ATSB loan.

SBC Communications agreed to pay $3.6 million to settle two inquiries by the Federal Communications Commission, which alleged that the US's second-largest local telephone company submitted false information on applications to provide long-distance service in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. Under the deal, San Antonio, Texas-based SBC admitted no wrongdoing, but pledged to make procedural changes to ensure that federal regulators get complete and truthful data in future.

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