Freight-train traffic dips

Luxury label

Burberry Group Plc, the 152-year-old British luxury label known for its trademark plaid, had a 15 percent gain in second-half profit after shoppers bought $2,195 Warrior bags and new stores opened from Vienna to Hong Kong.

Net income rose to 69.1 million pounds ($136.8 million) in the six months through March from 60.3 million pounds a year earlier, according to annual results reported Wednesday by the London-based company. Sales climbed 19 percent.

Burberry, whose black-leather-and-fur trench coat was worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the film version of “Sex and the City,” said it plans to lift revenue from shipments to other retailers by 10 percent in the first half of fiscal 2009. Bloomberg News

United Parcel Service Inc., the world's largest package-delivery company, said it expects as much as $1billion a year in new revenue as it takes over U.S. air shipments for Deutsche Post AG's unprofitable DHL unit.

UPS rose the most in two months in New York trading after announcing the tentative agreement Wednesday with Deutsche Post, Europe's biggest mail carrier. A final contract should be completed in 2008 and run 10 years, Atlanta-based UPS said.

The new business will help UPS cushion the blow from declining package demand as U.S. economic growth slows. Bloomberg News

Hollywood producers and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced a tentative three-year contract deal Wednesday that puts more pressure on a larger actors union to do the same and avoid a crippling strike.

AFTRA said its deal establishes higher fees for downloaded content and residual payments for ad-supported streams and clips.

It also sets a deadline for developing a system for actors to consent to the online use of clips containing their images or voice. Associated Press

Federal Reserve Governor Frederic Mishkin, a central-banking scholar and advocate of the longest run of interest-rate cuts since 2001, is resigning to return to Columbia University.

Mishkin, 57, on a leave of absence from the New York school, will step down as of Aug. 31, the Fed said in a statement Wednesday, also releasing his letter of resignation to President Bush. Mishkin will attend his final meeting of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee on Aug. 5.

The departure may create an unprecedented third vacancy on the seven-member Fed Board of Governors this year as the central bank tries to ease the credit crisis. The vacancies mean that a new U.S. president to be inaugurated in January may have an opportunity to influence monetary and regulatory policy by nominating new members.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, has already delayed a confirmation vote for three board nominees for more than a year. Bloomberg News