The Buzz On Business

VINCE VAUGHN HAS VAST VALUE: Vince Vaughn is the best star for the buck, says Forbes magazine. Vaughn raked in $14.73 of gross income for studios for every dollar he was paid for "The Break-up," "Wedding Crashers" and "Dodgeball," the magazine calculated. That's because until recently his salary was relatively low, and the films he was in had modest budgets yet did extremely well at the box office worldwide, Forbes said. It compiled the Ultimate Star Payback list by looking at the stars' past three films that opened in at least 1,000 theaters before 2008 and were made within five years. It calculated the gross income for each film by adding half the box office and the first three months of wholesale DVD revenues, then subtracting its budget. The gross income was divided by the actor's total compensation to derive the payback rate. Tobey Maguire ranked No. 2, with a gross income return of $13.44 for each dollar of his pay for the "Spider-Man" sequels and "Seabiscuit." Julia Roberts was third with $13.19. Brad Pitt ranked fourth with $12.73, followed by Naomi Watts and Matt Damon ($12.16 each), George Clooney ($11.56), Jennifer Aniston ($10.48), Hugh Jackman ($9.90) and Ben Stiller ($9.50).

TOYOTA TAKES LEAD OVER GM IN U.S.: General Motors Corp., pummeled by falling U.S. sales and high gas prices, lost the global sales lead to Toyota Motor Corp. in the first half of this year, but the churning market makes it difficult to predict which automaker will end the year on top. Toyota sold 4,817,941 vehicles globally during the first six months of the year, beating GM by 277,532 vehicles. Toyota said its global sales rose 2 percent from the same period the year before, while GM's sales fell 3 percent. It's the second time Toyota has beaten GM in sales in the first half of the year. In 2007, Toyota outsold GM by about 50,000 vehicles, although GM eked out a win for the full year to keep its title as the world's largest automaker by sales.

STUDY SAYS BANKS PUT CLIENTS IN FRAUD'S WAY: Many banks are unwittingly training their online customers to take risks with their passwords and other sensitive account information, leaving them more vulnerable to fraud, research shows. The result is that even the most security-conscious Web surfers could find themselves the victims of identity theft because they've been conditioned to ignore potential clues about whether the banking site they're visiting is real -- or a bogus site served up by hackers. That's the conclusion by University of Michigan researchers who found design flaws in 76 percent of the 214 U.S. financial institution Web sites they studied. The researchers aren't detailing which banks had problems, however.

NISSAN SENTRAS BEING RECALLED: Nissan Motor Co. is recalling nearly 170,000 Sentra sedans in the United States to address a brake cylinder that could leak fluid. The recall involves 2007-08 Sentras, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported on its Web site. Nissan planned to start notifying owners Wednesday. Nissan said in a letter to the NHTSA that an irregularity in some of the cylinders could lead to a gap that could allow fluid to leak into the brake booster assembly. The leak could cause the brake-warning light to turn on. Nissan said if the warning lamp is ignored, one of the brake circuits may not operate and could increase the risk of a crash. The Japanese automaker will replace the cylinder at no charge.

GOOGLE ALLOWS ALL TO ADD TO NET ENCYCLOPEDIA: Google Inc. is taking the wraps off an Internet encyclopedia designed to give people a chance to show off, and profit from, their expertise on any topic. The service, dubbed "knol" in reference to a unit of knowledge, had been limited to an invitation-only audience of contributors and readers for seven months. Now anyone with a Google account will be able to submit an article and, if he or she chooses, have ads displayed through the Internet search leader's marketing system. The contributing author and Google will share any revenue generated from the ads, which are supposed to be related to the topic covered in the knol.


Figuratively Speaking

17: Percentage of U.S. office-chair users who feel their chair is very comfortable, according to a study done for Allsteel Inc.

57: Percentage of users who would love to replace their chair

47: Percentage of respondent office-chair users who agree they would be more productive if their chair were more comfortable

66: Among affluent professionals (lawyers, accountants, doctors and dentists), percentage of men who have financial plans, according to the Spectrem Group

27: Percentage of women in this group who have plans