Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Today's Headlines

- US homebuilder shares are rising again, led by Standard Pacific(SPF), DR Horton(DHI) and Ryland Group(RYL), the largest seller of new homes for first-time buyers, as a 10-month low in mortgage rates sparked hopes of a housing rebound. The Housing Index(HGX) is up 27% in less than five months.
- There’s no housing slump in Manhattan, according to a survey from the Real Estate Board of NY. The median price of an apartment in Manhattan, the most expensive urban real estate market in the US, rose 6% in the third quarter to $767,000. Median prices for East Side condos soared 45% to $1.35 million. First-time buyers seeking a toe-hold in the surging NY market pushed the median price in northern Manhattan neighborhoods to $558,000, a 60% spike, the board said.
- Yahoo!(YHOO) CEO Terry Semel promoted CFO Decker to a new job overseeing advertising sales as part of a broader shake-up designed to catch up to competitors such as Google(GOOG).
- The dollar rose for a second day against the euro after a report showed US companies in November added the most workers since June.
- German factory orders unexpectedly dropped for a second month in October, led by a slump in domestic demand for cars and trucks.
- Factory production in the UK unexpectedly dell the most in a year in October, crimped by a stronger currency.
- Crude oil prices in NY may tumble to $40 a barrel next year as demand for biofuel made from crops spurs investors to switch from energy to agricultural commodities, said Tetsu Emori, chief commodities strategist at Japan’s Mitsui Bussan Futures Ltd.
- Gold is falling another $7/oz. in NY as the dollar’s recent gains reduce demand for the metal.
- Starbucks(SBUX) confirmed its forecast for earnings per share of 87 cents to 89 cents in fiscal 2007 and said it expects to operate nearly 15,000 cafes by next October.
- Copper is falling in NY the most in three weeks on reduced speculation by investment funds amid surging inventories.

Wall Street Journal:
- Financier Carl Icahn is dropping his $4.6 billion bid for Reckson Assoc. Realty(RA) after the target approved another offer.
- Comcast Corp.’s(CMCSA) founders, the Roberts family, will donate $15 million to a cancer-treatment center being developed by the Univ. of Pennsylvania Health System.
- Wheeling-Pittsburgh Corp.(WPSC), a West Virginia steelmaker, said it’s reviewing stock sales by three executives shortly before the company said its results would fall short of expectations.

USA Today:
- US Airways CEO Parker said he will stop pursuing Delta Air if Delta’s management doesn’t support the merger.

NY Times:
- Worldwide volumes of spam e-mail messages have doubled from last year and now accounts for 90% of all e-mails sent, citing spam-filterer Ironport Systems.
- The US has offered a package of economic and energy assistance to North Korea if that country will give up its nuclear weapons and related technology.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
- A US Transportation Security Administration test program lets guests at the Grand Hyatt hotel at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport go through security without a boarding pass.

Tehran Times:
- Iran has started substituting euros for dollars in its crude oil trading.

Dagens Naeringsliv:
- A Miami-based business man is in talks with the Jackson Memorial Hospital about buying human fat from liposuction operations for use in biodiesel production.

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