A defense bill approved yesterday by the U.S. House could help Boeing regain the $23 billion tanker contract it lost last year after an...

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A defense bill approved yesterday by the U.S. House could help Boeing regain the $23 billion tanker contract it lost last year after an ethics scandal.

The bill, which passed on a 390-39 vote, sets defense policy and spending for next year. It includes an amendment that would prevent the Pentagon from purchasing goods and services from foreign companies that receive government subsidies.

While no companies or countries are named, lawmakers said the amendment was aimed at disqualifying the parent company of European jet maker Airbus from bidding on the Air Force contract for refueling tankers. Airbus has long received subsidies from European governments, sparking tension between U.S. and European officials.

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The defense bill must also be approved by the Senate.

Northwest Airlines

Stalemate in talks with mechanics

Northwest Airlines said its talks with mechanics are at an impasse and asked to be released from negotiations, the mechanics’ union said yesterday. If the mediator agrees, the next step would be arbitration or a possible strike.

Also yesterday, the flight attendants union said Northwest will recall all 691 of its laid-off members during the summer.

Northwest and the mechanics have been negotiating since October, and a mediator has been involved since the beginning of this year.

The mechanics have until June 8 to respond to Northwest’s request to release them from mediation. Arbitration would be next, but either side can refuse.

That would prompt a 30-day cooling-off period. After that, the mechanics could strike.

Mechanics have not decided whether they want arbitration, said Jeff Mathews, contract coordinator and negotiations spokesman for the Aircraft Fraternal Mechanics Association.


Shares stumble
after new subpoena

Morningstar’s stock fell 4 percent yesterday after the U.S. Department of Labor subpoenaed the mutual fund and stock research firm’s consulting unit.

The company disclosed the Labor Department subpoena Tuesday evening. Two other agencies also are investigating its Morningstar Associates unit.

Shares of Morningstar fell 90 cents to close at $22.16.

Labor Department spokesman Brad Mitchell said yesterday the agency would neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation into Morningstar.

Morningstar Chairman and CEO Joe Mansueto said the company thinks the subpoena of its unit, an investment adviser on 401(k) plans, is related to the other investigations — by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Seat on exchange tops $2.2 million

Two New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) membership “seats” were sold yesterday, the highest for $2.22 million, up $120,000 from the previous regular seat sale May 19.

The other seat sold for $2.2 million.

Seat prices rose recently after the NYSE announced plans to acquire Archipelago Holdings, the Chicago operator of an electronic market.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News