SEC extends ban on short-selling

Federal regulators on Wednesday extended an unprecedented ban against all short-selling in the shares of more than 800 financial companies, keeping it in place at least until after Congress enacts a financial rescue plan. The Securities and Exchange Commission said that the ban, put in place on Sept. 18 and due to expire today, instead will last until the third business day after enactment of the $700 billion financial bailout plan now before Congress. It will end no later than Oct. 17.

Mediation Board settles Delta union dispute

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that the National Mediation Board (NMB) sided with the company in a dispute in which a national flight attendants union claimed the carrier interfered with a failed effort by some of its flight attendants to unionize. Atlanta-based Delta said the NMB found that the union's claims either are "unsubstantiated," "do not rise to the level of interference" or represent isolated incidents that did not amount to "pervasive conduct that would have tainted" the election results.

UAL to raise cash to weather credit crunch

United Airlines parent UAL Corp. plans to add about $275 million to its cash holdings by year's end through aircraft financing and by selling assets. About $125 million will come from an aircraft financing accord, Chicago-based UAL said Wednesday in a prepared statement. The asset sales will generate $140 million, and $10 million more will come from substituting a letter of credit for certain cash collateral. Boosting cash may help airlines weather the paralysis in U.S. credit markets as banks pull back on loans or make them prohibitively expensive.

Pershing gets greater control of Borders

Borders Group Inc. on Wednesday was forced to issue warrants to Pershing Square Capital Management, potentially giving its largest shareholder even more reason to push the bookseller toward a sale. Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Borders said in March that it was exploring a possible sale as part of a larger financial restructuring. According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, if the company didn't sign an agreement by Wednesday or abandoned its plans, it would have to issue more warrants to Pershing -- a firm run by hedge fund manager and investor William Ackman that now owns 20.1 million shares of Borders, or nearly 29 percent of outstanding stock. Ackman has suggested that Borders approach Amazon.com Inc. for a possible deal. Borders issued warrants to Pershing to buy 5.15 million extra shares at $7 each.

Some fast-food menu boards to list calories

Yum Brands Inc. -- the parent of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food -- said Wednesday that it will add product calorie information to menu boards in its company-owned restaurants nationwide. The change would let consumers "make better-informed purchase decisions," Yum spokesman Jonathan Blum said.