ECONOMIC REPORTS MIXED: Wages and benefits grew by 1 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace in six months, as the unfolding economic recovery helped companies offer more generous compensation packages. The Labor Department said the increase followed a 0.8 percent advance in the first quarter. In another report, the Commerce Department said orders to factories for big-ticket goods dropped by 3.8 percent from May to June, a much weaker performance than expected. The drop was the largest since November and covered goods from cars to computers. Factory orders had increased 0.6 percent in May. The reports signal the recovery is on track but improvements are spotty.
TYCO NAMES CHAIRMAN: Tyco International appointed Motorola president Edward D. Breen chairman and chief executive as the conglomerate struggles to right itself amid questions about its accounting and investigations involving several top officers. Breen replaces Dennis Kozlowski, who resigned in June before being indicted on sales tax evasion charges in the purchase of art works. The announcement, made after markets closed, came the same day Tyco shares plunged amid rumors it would seek bankruptcy protection. Tyco denied the rumors but investors ran for cover, sending the stock down 17.5 percent to a six-year low of $8.25. Chief financial officer Mark Swartz called the rumors irresponsible and said Tyco has not hired bankruptcy lawyers.
HERSHEY MAY SEEK BUYER: Hershey Foods Corp. might be put up for sale by the trust that controls the largest U.S. chocolatemaker. The Milton Hershey School Trust decided to diversify its holdings, Hershey Foods said. The trust owns 77 percent of the voting shares in the company. Hershey's board met Wednesday and agreed to examine options, including a sale, according to the Wall Street Journal, which said an auction of the company could bring more than $10-billion.