Business news

Yum Brands posts 7 percent gain in third-quarter profit


LOUISVILLE, KY. --- Yum Brands Inc., the owner of the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC fast-food brands, said Tuesday that its third-quarter profit grew 7 percent on the strength of surging overseas sales, mainly in China.

Buoyed by its performance, the company raised its forecast for full-year earnings to $2.48 per share from $2.43 per share.

Yum shares dipped in aftermarket trading, perhaps because the company said its U.S. operating profit fell 2 percent, dragged down in part by sluggish sales at KFC.

Senator demands lenders reveal foreclosure errors

WASHINGTON --- A key lawmaker is demanding more than 100 mortgage companies determine whether foreclosure documents they approved contain errors, and reveal their findings.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D.-N.J., sent letters Tuesday to three banks that have halted foreclosures in 23 states after evidence surfaced that their employees or outside lawyers signed documents without reading them. Menendez leads a Senate subcommittee that oversees housing issues.

He wrote to the three major lenders that have halted thousands of foreclosures -- JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Ally Financial -- along with dozens of other companies.

High vehicle safety scores become harder to achieve

WASHINGTON --- New cars and trucks will have to work harder to make the grade in the government's safety ratings program.

The Transportation Department said upgrades to the 5-Star Safety Rating System will make it harder for new vehicles to earn top scores.

The 2011 BMW 5 Series and a version of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata were the only two vehicles to receive five stars out of an initial testing of 34 vehicles. Most of the vehicles tested received four stars. The department intends to test 21 more vehicles this year.

The new testing system adds an overall score, uses different sizes of test dummies and takes into account crash-prevention technologies and a new test that simulates a car striking a pole or a tree. The overall score combines the results of front, side and rollover tests and compares those results with average risk of injury and the potential for vehicle rollover of other vehicles.

In other news

APPLE INC. IS CHALLENGING a federal jury's order that it pay $625.5 million in damages for violating a small technology company's patents. On Friday, a jury in Texas found that Apple infringed on three patents held by Mirror Worlds LLC, a company founded by Yale University computer science professor David Gelernter to commercialize his ideas.