Americans have accumulated a record $16.4-trillion in retirement accounts, with about half of it in company-sponsored plans like 401(k)s and in individual retirement accounts, according to a study by the Investment Company Institute. The ICI, a Washington-based trade association, said that the total for 2006 was up 11 percent from the $14.7-trillion in retirement assets at the end of 2005 and nearly 55 percent higher than the market-depressed low of $10.6-trillion at the end of 2002. Retirement assets had declined in 2001 and 2002 as the stock market dropped following the bursting of the technology stock bubble and Sept. 11, 2001.
Viagra blindness suits dismissed
Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drugmaker, won the dismissal of five lawsuits brought by Viagra users who claim the medicine caused them to go blind or impaired their vision. A New York court isn't the appropriate place for the suits, state Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead in Manhattan ruled Tuesday. She threw out the five similar cases as the New York-based company requested, saying the plaintiffs, all non-New Yorkers, should sue in their own states. The five men claimed they developed a form of ischemic optic neuropathy, described by doctors as a stroke of the optic nerve, as a result of taking Viagra.
Long trucker hours rule is struck down
A federal court dealt a blow to U.S. trucking companies Tuesday by striking down rules on working hours that were strongly criticized by safety advocates. Judge Merrick B. Garland, writing for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, invalidated a rule by the federal safety agency that allowed truckers to drive 11 hours in a row, rather than the previous limit of 10. The judge also threw out a rule that would have effectively increased weekly time limits on drivers' hours by at least 25 percent, critics said. The agency had failed to follow proper procedures in issuing the two measures, the court said, such as allowing public comment on the 11-hour limit.
Smith Barney will pay $50M penalty
Citigroup's Smith Barney unit will pay $50-million to settle market-timing charges brought by the New York Stock Exchange and New Jersey, regulators announced Tuesday. Some $40-million of the payment will be set aside to compensate customers of the firm who had invested in mutual funds affected by the brokerage's conduct, the NYSE said. The remaining money will be split between the NYSE and New Jersey. The NYSE said Smith Barney failed to supervise trading of mutual fund shares and variable annuity mutual fund sub-accounts, failed to prevent violative market timing by its brokers, and failed to maintain adequate records.
NORTHWEST TRIMMING FLIGHT CAPACITY
Northwest Airlines said Tuesday it is trimming domestic flight capacity by an additional 1 percent in August to cut the hours pilots fly and prevent another surge in flight cancellations like that experienced at the end of June.