Martha Stewart Witness Gets $2,000 Fine

%mlink(STRY:v5665; PHOTO:NYLL105-0723041221; AUDIO:04237214%)

NEW YORK (AP) _ A former brokerage assistant who helped Martha Stewart make her fateful stock trade and later emerged as a key government witness was spared both prison and probation Friday and fined just $2,000 for accepting a payoff during the government's investigation.

Halliburton Reports $663 Million Loss

%mlink(STRY:v5549; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

HOUSTON (AP) _ An unexpected charge on a troublesome project off the coast of Brazil pushed Halliburton Co. to a $663 million net loss in the second quarter, the company announced Friday.

Stocks Fall on Microsoft, Amazon News

%mlink(STRY:v5703; PHOTO:; AUDIO:04237198%)

NEW YORK (AP) _ Disappointing earnings from Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. weighed heavily on stocks Friday as nervous investors hedged against a possible slowdown in profit growth through the rest of the year.

Xerox's 2Q Profit Soars on Product Sales

%mlink(STRY:v5708; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ In the latest sign of recovery, Xerox Corp. reported its second-quarter profits more than doubled on strong sales of new color products and raised its profit forecast for the year.

Amazon Shares Drop on 2Q Profit Shortfall

%mlink(STRY:v5580; PHOTO:NY836-0311041656; AUDIO:%)

SEATTLE (AP) _ Shares of Amazon.com Inc. fell more than 8 percent Friday after the online retailing giant reported second quarter profits that failed to meet Wall Street expectations.

DaimlerChrysler Workers Forgo Raises

%mlink(STRY:v5695; PHOTO:XSTG104-0723040535; AUDIO:%)

BERLIN (AP) _ Workers at DaimlerChrysler AG's largest plant in Germany agreed Friday to forgo raises and make other sacrifices in exchange for job security, the latest sign of an increased willingness by German employees to take cuts amid increasing global competition.

Volkswagen's Profit Drops, Issues Warning

%mlink(STRY:v5494; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Automaker Volkswagen on Friday reported a 9 percent profit decline in the second quarter and said its operating profit for the year will be lower than earlier forecasts, saying rough market conditions made its original earnings goal unachievable.

Clear Channel Profits Edge Higher

%mlink(STRY:v5653; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

Clear Channel Communications Inc. reported Friday that its second-quarter profit rose 1 percent from a year ago as radio station revenue continued to lag growth in other parts of the media company's business.

Consortium Offers to Settle Yukos Debt

%mlink(STRY:v5622; PHOTO:MOSB103-0723041154; AUDIO:%)

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Britain-based investor group is proposing to pay the crushing tax debt of the Yukos oil company in exchange for the Yukos shares held by its jailed CEO and his partners, a consortium spokesman said Friday.

United Stops Pension Contributions

%mlink(STRY:v5678; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

CHICAGO (AP) _ United Airlines said Friday it plans no further payments to its employee pension funds in bankruptcy in order to improve its chances of attracting exit financing in a move that upset union leaders.