Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Today's Headlines

- Moody’s Investors Service(MCO) plans to raise credit ratings on most of the $1.2 trillion of loans it monitors, potentially saving US borrowers as much as $4.6 billion a year in interest.
- The Cannes Film Festival opens this evening with the world premiere of “The Da Vinci Code”. Critics were disappointed after last night’s advance screening.
- Bill Miller, the fund manager who has beaten the S&P 500 for a record 15 consecutive years, said Eastman Kodak(EK) shares may almost double by the end of 2008 as the company switches to digital imaging technology.
- California’s credit rating, once teetering near junk status before Governor Schwarzenegger took office, was raised today by S&P to its highest level since 2001, ending its three-year stigma of having the lowest debt rating of all US states.
- Crude oil is falling to a one-month low after an Energy Dept. report showed that US gasoline supplies rose as demand barely rose and imports arrived at near record rates.
- US Treasuries are falling after a government report showed consumer prices in April climbed more than economists forecast.

Wall Street Journal:
- Most US companies with operations in China say the country’s policing of intellectual property rights has not improved or has gotten worse, citing a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
- Merck(MRK) is awaiting the results of a FDA committee meeting on its cervical-cancer vaccine to determine whether it has a blockbuster on its hands.
- Senate Democrats plan to present initiatives to cut gasoline consumption that focus on alternative energy sources.
- Pacific Ethanol(PEIX) insiders have sold more than $100 million in company stock recently, even as the share price has tripled in the last six months.

NY Times:
- Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP, which has won billions of dollars in shareholder lawsuits, could be charged as early as tomorrow or May 25 in a federal investigation into paying plaintiffs.

Washington Post:
- The CEOs of the three big US automakers are due to meet tomorrow with congressional leaders to discuss energy issues.

Business Recorders:
- Oil & Gas Development, Pakistan’s biggest explorer of fuels, found deposits at two separate wells.

NY Post:
- UBS AG(UBS), Europe’s largest bank, has won the bidding to buy Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding’s futures and commodities trading unit.
- Cendant’s(CD) travel unit, owner of the Web sites Orbitz and, has received bids from Bain Capital LLC, Texas Pacific Group and Apollo Management.

- Johnson & Johnson(JNJ) said Medicare will pay for some patients under age 60 to have the company’s artificial spinal disk implanted.

Financial Times Deutschland:
- Hewlett-Packard(HPQ) will hire “hundreds” of salespeople in the second half of 2006 to boost its business with major customers.

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