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Volt 'virtually sold out'

DETROIT -- General Motors will report only about 100 Chevrolet Volt sales when July's U.S. auto sales come out Tuesday, but the extended-range electric car is "virtually sold out" of the outgoing 2011 model year, spokeswoman Michelle Bunker said Monday.

Of the 4,488 2011 Volts GM has built in Detroit, about 100 remain unclaimed, she said. The rest are reserved for dealer demos of the Volt's battery and backup generator or internal GM uses such as engineering tests or marketing.

Volt sales have averaged about 440 a month since the car's launch in December. But GM shut the Volt's Detroit plant in June for about a month for upgrades before the 2012 model year arrived.

-- McClatchy Newspapers


Retrial in AIG fraud case

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Former executives of American International Group Inc. and General Re Corp. who were convicted in a $500 million fraud case deserve a new trial, because the judge at their 2008 trial wrongly admitted stock-price data into evidence and gave improper jury instructions, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the fraud convictions for the five officials and sent the case back to U.S. District Court in Hartford.

Prosecutors had accused the executives of participating in a scheme in which New York-based AIG secretly paid Stamford-based Gen Re to take out reinsurance policies with AIG in 2000 and 2001 to boost AIG's falling stock price. Reinsurance policies are backups purchased by insurance companies to completely or partly insure risk they have assumed for their customers.


Oil prices slip below $95

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil fell Monday as early enthusiasm about a deal on the nation's debt ceiling turned to concern about the global economy following weak readings on U.S. and Chinese manufacturing.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery fell 81 cents to settle at $94.89 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was as high as $98.60 earlier in the session. Brent crude, used to price many international oil varieties, added 7 cents to settle at $116.81 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.


Windstream to buy Paetec

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Local-phone company Windstream Corp. has agreed to buy Paetec Holding Corp., which provides telecommunication services to businesses, for about $891 million in stock, the companies said Monday.

Little Rock, Ark.-based Windstream says the addition of Paetec Holding Corp. will expand its focus on business and broadband services. Windstream has 3 million phone lines in 29 states, mostly in rural areas, but traditional phone service is a shrinking business.

Fairport, N.Y.-based Paetec has 5,000 employees, of which about 875 are in the Rochester area.


In other business news

*The nation's top tobacco companies are spending less money on cigarette advertising and promotion, and more money on promoting smokeless tobacco products, according to the latest data from the Federal Trade Commission. Numbers released by the federal agency late Friday show cigarette marketing decreased more than 34 percent to $9.94 billion in 2008, the latest year available, compared with 2003. Meanwhile, cigarette sales decreased 11 percent to 320 billion cigarettes in the same period.

*Global chip sales totaled $24.7 billion in June, down 1.2 percent from $25 billion in May and down 0.4 percent from 24.8 billion in June of last year, according to the industry's leading trade group. The Semiconductor Industry Association said second-quarter chip sales came in 2 percent below first-quarter levels, but sales in the first half of the year were 3.7 percent higher than sales in the first half of 2010, which saw "record-breaking growth."

*Allstate reported a second-quarter loss Monday, hammered by $2.3 billion in catastrophe losses this year from waves of tornadoes, wildfires and storms. Yet Allstate's numbers were better than Wall Street had expected as the property and casualty insurer's ratio for claims paid out versus dollars taken in improved.