May home prices fell 4.8% from year earlier

A government report says U.S. home prices fell a record 4.8 percent in May from the same month last year. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight also said that prices, on a seasonally adjusted basis, fell 0.3 percent from April to May. The index is down almost 5 percent from its peak in April 2007. The government index is calculated using mortgage loans bought or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Abu Dhabi to put $4 billion into GE

General Electric Co. has agreed to a joint venture with an Abu Dhabi government investment company that will pump $4 billion of outside capital into GE's weakened commercial finance business. The deal with Mubadala Development Co. will also launch or broaden several other ventures with the Persian Gulf investment vehicle, which expects to become one of the top 10 institutional investors in Fairfield, Conn.-based GE, which has businesses including lightbulbs, jet engines and NBC television. Mubadala is based in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

H&R Block names new chief executive

H&R Block Inc., the nation's largest tax preparer, on Tuesday named the former president of McDonald's Europe as its new chief executive. Russ Smyth, who also joins the Kansas City-based company's board of directors, will take over as president and CEO on Aug. 1. He replaces Alan Bennett, appointed interim CEO in November after former Chairman and CEO Mark Ernst stepped down.

Japanese plant to make organic light diodes

Toshiba Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. will start making next-generation displays at their joint plant by the second half of 2009, a company spokesman said Tuesday. Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co., the Japanese electronics makers' joint venture set up in 2002, plans to invest about 15 billion yen ($140 million) to make small and medium-size organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, displays, said company spokesman Toshiyuki Yoshida.

Unilever to sell Bertolli to Spanish firm

Unilever PLC said Tuesday it has signed a deal to sell its Bertolli olive oil and vinegar business to Spain's Grupo SOS for 630 million euros ($999 million). The sale was part of a plan by the Anglo-Dutch consumer and food giant to narrow its product list and focus on strategic brands.

Car safety systems firm cutting jobs

Swedish auto safety systems maker Autoliv Inc. said Tuesday it will cut up to 3,000 jobs -- about 7 percent of its workforce -- to reduce costs in the wake of falling car sales in Europe and North America. The company, which makes air bags and seat belts, didn't specify where the cuts will be made. Stockholm-based Autoliv has 43,000 employees worldwide.