Business & Finance

More bad news piled up for troubled US airlines, with the parent of United reporting a loss of $889 million in the third quarter, usually the industry's strongest, and Delta announcing at least 7,000 more layoffs on top of the 13,000 jobs already cut since the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Delta's chairman told employees in a memo that little improvement appears likely in the near future. Meanwhile, AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it "likely" will take a charge of more than $1 billion against shareholder equity to meet its minimum pension-fund liability.

The parent company of U-Haul International, the leader in the truck- and trailer-rental industry, was trying to squelch speculation that it may file for bankruptcy. But the Financial Times reported that Amerco of Reno, Nev., has asked bondholders for patience following a week in which it missed a $100 million debt payment, had its credit-worthiness lowered by the Fitch and Standard & Poor's ratings services, and hired a new adviser to help restructure its finances. Amerco's share price plunged last week from $7.70 to $2.84. A year ago, its shares traded at $19.85.

Sun Microsystems said it will cut 4,400 more jobs while posting a quarterly loss of $111 million. It's the company's second major round of layoffs due to lagging technology spending by businesses. As the leading producer of Unix-based servers for corporate networks, Sun cut almost 3,900 jobs last year.

Dynegy Inc. fired six employees and will discipline seven others after an internal review found they violated policies on natural gas trades. The review is being conducted as part of an inquiry by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Dynegy's accounting practices are also under scrutiny by the SEC and federal prosecutors. The Houston-based company recently announced it would quit the energy marketing and trading business.

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