Business Briefs



Home Depot reports sales increases in third quarter\nATLANTA -- The Home Depot Inc., the nation's largest home improvement store chain, reported a nearly 15 percent jump in third-quarter earnings on strong sales, particularly at stores open at least a year.\nThe results, announced before the market opened Tuesday, beat Wall Street expectations and prompted the Atlanta-based company to raise its full-year earnings estimates.\nIn trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Home Depot fell 79 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $43 -- part of a larger pullback in retail stocks as investors locked in profits.

Nation's largest flight attendant union declares strike\nPITTSBURGH -- The board of the country's largest flight attendants union, the Association of Flight Attendants, authorized a national strike Tuesday after its president said the airline industry is using the bankruptcy process to threaten workers' livelihoods.\nThe union, which represents 46,000 members at 26 airlines, said it will immediately start the process of taking strike votes at four airlines -- UAL Corp.'s United, US Airways Group Inc., ATA Holdings Inc.'s ATA Airlines and Hawaiian Holdings Inc.'s Hawaiian Airlines -- and will tally the votes by the end of December.\nFrom there, the union will wait until there is an action in bankruptcy court.

Investigator tells Congress about insurance scandal\nWASHINGTON -- Congress should dig deeper into the burgeoning scandal within the insurance industry, a top investigator said Tuesday, claiming lawmakers will find a "Pandora's box" of unethical conduct.\nNew York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who launched an investigation Oct. 14 into major brokerages and raised accusations of bid rigging and price fixing, told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that more revelations about bad practices are coming.\nThe scandal has led already to high-level resignations, employee layoffs and guilty pleas by some executives.

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