Thursday, March 24, 2005

Today's Headlines

- General Electric raised its first-quarter earnings forecast to 37 cents to 38 cents a share, from 36 cents to 37 cents.
- Billionaire investor George Soros was found guilty of insider trading by a French appeals court, confirming a 2002 conviction.
- Russian President Putin, seeking to restore investor confidence after tax demands brought down OAO Yukos Oil, said he will end the government’s ability to reverse the state asset sales of the 1990s.
- Tokyo’s first rise in commercial property prices since 1991 is likely to add to Japan’s attractiveness for overseas real estate investors.
- US new-home sales rose 9.4% in February, the biggest increase in more than four years, as job and income growth spurred buying.
- General Motors’ debt rating may be lowered to high-risk or junk status in the next six months, prompting the sale of the residential mortgage and insurance units of GM’s finance subsidiary, Merrill Lynch said.
- The US dollar is rising for a sixth straight day against the yen, the longest streak in more than a year.

The Wall Street Journal:
- Moves by US companies such as GM, Ford and Caterpillar to reduce previously reported numbers for operating cash flow following guidelines from the SEC shows that “cash flow” is not as firm a concept as investors may have thought.
- President Bush is building alliances with some Democrats and other unlikely groups to gain support for saving Social Security.
- JP Morgan miscalculated its ability to fight a class-action suit by investors in WorldCom and paid $630 million more than the bank would have done otherwise.
- In the US, sales of beer will continue to lose ground to wine and distilled spirits, citing Morgan Stanley.
- The US Supreme Court is about to review a request by 28 entertainment companies to overturn lower court rulings that peer-to-peer networks aren’t legally responsible when used to illegally download entertainment.

The New York Times:
- The average price of a one-way coach class airplane ticket rose 10% since January as many airlines raised prices this week.
- Lockheed Martin’s C-130J planes, used by the US Air Force to deploy paratroopers and cargo, may be struck from the 2006 budget by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
- PBS has canceled the 35-year-old financial program “Wall Street Week,” three years after viewers were upset by the departure of the show’s host.

- New Jersey and Colorado have proposed banning smoking in casinos, a move fought by the industry, which claims a prohibition would hurt income.

Washington Post:
- The Federal Election Commission indicated it plans a “non-intrusive” approach to regulating online political campaigning.

- Nigeria’s oil worker unions aim to shut down the West African nation’s crude production during their planned three-day strike next month over working conditions.

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