Monday, March 12, 2007

Today's Headlines

- Crude oil is falling below $59/bbl. in NY on signs that OPEC won’t reduce output at a meeting in Vienna this week.
- Natural gas is falling below $7 per million BTUs in NY for the first time since January as mild weather cut heating fuel consumption.
- Standard & Poor’s, compiler of the S&P 500 index of US stocks, started an index to track publicly traded private equity and venture capital funds.
- UnitedHealth Group(UNH) agreed to buy Sierra Health Services(SIE) for $2.6 billion, adding customers in the rapidly expanding American Southwest. SIE shares surged 16.0%.
- New Century Financial(NEW) said today it doesn’t have the cash to pay creditors who are demanding their money now, increasing speculation that the company will go bankrupt.
- Ford Motor(F) will sell its profitable Aston Martin luxury sports-car unit for $848 million to investors led by UK auto-racing champion David Richards.
- Dollar General(DG) agreed to be taken private by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for about $6.9 billion in the biggest leveraged buyout of a retail company.
- Mortgage defaults over the next two years will not rise enough to be a drag on the US economy, according to debt strategists at Lehman Brothers(LEH).

Wall Street Journal:
- Las Vegas Sands(LVS), Wynn Resorts(WYNN) and other US gambling companies that operate in Asia have taken a beating recently.

USA Today:
- Congress is considering ways to lessen sentencing guidelines for crimes involving crack cocaine.

Financial Times:
- The US Chamber of Commerce wants changes in the country’s legal and regulatory framework in order to aid US capital markets and highlight their competitiveness.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung:
- Islamic extremists said they’d carry out terrorist attacks in Germany and kill two hostages held in Iraq unless German armed forces pulled out of Afghanistan.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
- Boeing Co.(BA) wants to increase its production rate at existing factories so it can sell more planes, CEO James McNerney said.

Iran newspaper:
- Russia shouldn’t “politicize” the construction of a nuclear plant it is building for Iran, citing the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization.

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