NTSB scolds Boeing over 787 comments

Boeing's comments about the smoldering batteries on its 787 annoyed the National Transportation Safety Board.

Boeing gave its own account of two battery incidents, which included a fire, at a detailed press briefing in Tokyo last week. The problem is that the NTSB is still investigating the incidents. Boeing is a party to the investigation, meaning it provides technical experts and, in effect, gets a seat at the table as investigators try to sort out what happened.

Boeing's "failure to inform the NTSB of the content off the recent technical briefing in Tokyo prior to its occurrence is inconsistent with our expectations for a party," the NTSB wrote.

The letter released late Thursday noted that on the day of the battery fire in Boston, someone from Boeing signed a certification committing it to the NTSB's guidelines for participating in the investigation.

Cotton price rally now longest since '09

The longest cotton rally in four years and a lingering drought in the southern Great Plains are forcing farmers in the United States, the world's biggest exporter, to reconsider a shift in crops.

Planting may total 11 million acres, 10 percent more than a Feb. 22 government forecast of 10 million, said Jordan Lea, the chairman of Eastern Trading Co., an exporter in Greenville, S.C.

Prices are up 37 percent from a 31-month low in June and heading for a fifth monthly gain, the longest since July 2009. Corn, by comparison, has fallen 3.4 percent since late October.

The price surge was the "number one" reason "for me switching back to cotton," said Randy McGee, 35, who farms 1,200 acres in Idalou, Texas. He's ditching plans to sow corn and sorghum on non-irrigated land that he now plans to use for cotton.

Cotton has seen the biggest gain this year of any commodity.

Darden 3Q profit falls but tops Street's view

NEW YORK - Darden Restaurants' third-quarter net income dropped 18 percent, as it dealt with soft sales at Red Lobster, but the results still beat Wall Street's expectations.

The Orlando, Fla., company said Friday that sales at its Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants open at least a year fell a combined 4.6 percent.

This figure is a key gauge of a restaurant operator's performance because it excludes results at stores recently opened or closed.

Genachowski leaving

as chairman of FCC

NEW YORK - The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, said Friday that he's stepping down in the "coming weeks," ending a four-year tenure that has garnered mixed reviews for him and tangible progress in the industries he oversees.

BP says it will buy up $8 billion in shares

LONDON - Oil company BP said Friday it will buy back $8 billion of shares using money it earned by selling its stake in Russian producer TNK-BP.

The announcement came after BP completed the sale of its 50 percent interest in TNK-BP to Moscow-based Rosneft, in a deal that gave it $12.5 billion in cash and a stake in the state-owned oil company. The deal allowed Rosneft, the Russian oil giant, to tighten its grip on the country's lucrative oil industry.

Associated Press; Bloomberg News