SEC’S OPEN DOOR: May Department Stores Co. and Jones Apparel Group Friday joined the ranks of companies whose chief executives and chief financial officers filed sworn statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission affirming the accuracy of their quarterly financial statements. May filed ahead of its Sept. 17 deadline while Jones received a six-day extension to file beyond its original Aug. 14 due date. May joined Wal-Mart Stores among retailers who have opted to expense stock options beginning in fiscal 2003. May expects the expense from stock options to be about 2 cents per share in 2003, growing to about 8 cents per share in 2006. Asked what consequences late and nonfilers would face, an SEC spokesman responded, "We will consider all options and fashion a remedy based on the facts and circumstances of each case."

MORE MONEY FOR COTTON: The Cotton Council International, a division of the National Cotton Council of America, has received an additional $763,645 for fiscal year 2002 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote U.S. cotton exports overseas. The funding, tied to the recently signed farm bill, will be added to the Cotton Council’s original budget of $6.74 million, which was also received from the USDA for fiscal year 2002. Cotton Council International is funded by tariffs on imported cotton and cotton fees that growers pay.

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