Norwalk, Conn. (Dec. 16, 2003) — The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued four exposure drafts designed to sharpen generally accepted accounting principles and help augur convergence of U.S. accounting standards with existing global standards.

The exposure drafts, which are available at www.fasb.org, propose the following: •Voluntary changes in accounting policies would be required to be applied by retrospective application rather than by cumulative effect adjustment, as currently required. •Three changes to the calculation of earnings per share; •Asset exchanges that would require a gain or loss to be recognized on the exchange of similar productive assets based on the fair value of the exchange, unless the exchange lacks commercial substance; and •Unusual amounts of idle capacity and spoilage costs would be excluded from the cost of inventory and expensed as incurred.

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