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BRIEFLY

OFFICEMAX CFO RESIGNS: After just two months on the job, Brian Anderson, the chief financial officer of OfficeMax, resigned Wednesday, less than a month after the company announced that it had uncovered improprieties in the way it accounted for rebates from a large supplier. Analysts said the resignation was voluntary. OfficeMax of Itasca, Ill., also said Wednesday that it will delay the release of its fourth-quarter earnings, scheduled for Jan. 20, and that it expects to complete an internal inquiry into its accounting by the third week of February. The company has also said it would delay a planned buyback of about $800-million of its stock.

U.S. BACKS GIFT CARD CURBS: Federal regulators say three New England states should be allowed to enforce state restrictions on fees and expiration dates for retail gift cards issued through national banks. A letter from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency backs a key element in the legal battle by the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire to protect the rights of consumers who buy the cards. Cards that are issued by national banks rather than a retailer or mall owner, such as the Simon Visa Giftcard, can be used in more locations than traditional gift cards, but they often carry tougher restrictions and higher fees if they're not quickly redeemed.

DELTA TICKET SALES: Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that it saw record sales on its Web site the day after it announced it was cutting its most expensive fares by up to half, but the struggling carrier did not reveal the effect of the move on overall revenues and earnings. In the first five days after the launch, ticket sales on the Web site increased 60 percent over the same period a year ago.

COORS-MOLSON MERGER: The brewing giant SABMiller PLC of London indicated Wednesday that it is interested in bidding for Molson Inc. should the Canadian brewer's pending merger with Adolph Coors Co. fall apart. The London brewer's statement came a week before Molson and Coors shareholders are scheduled to vote on the planned combination of Canada's biggest brewer and the third-biggest U.S. beer company.

UNITED PROPOSES PAY CUTS: A tentative new labor contract between United Airlines and its flight attendants calls for a 9.5 percent cut in base pay and other concessions. The agreement, made available to members of the Association of Flight Attendants this week, doesn't include provisions related to the termination of pension benefits, which remains central to the airline's bankruptcy case.

EARNINGS

Apple Computer Inc.

The Cupertino, Calif., computermaker dramatically exceeded Wall Street expectations because of strong holiday sales of laptops and iPod music players.

1stQtr Year Ago

Revenue $3.49-bil $2-bil

Net Income $295-mil $63-mil

Per Share 70 cents 17 cents

Compiled from Times staff and wire reports.

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