Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Today's Headlines

- Russia isn’t ready to join the WTO, US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said.
- A provision added to a federal bill that would reform government-sponsored enterprises could lead to as much as $1.6 billion of tax-exempt debt for affordable-housing and community-development projects, the Bond Buyer reported.
- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said today that the trial of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity may begin in two months.
- Frontline Ltd., the world’s biggest oil-tanker company by capacity, reported its smallest profit gain in three quarters as sales growth barely increased, raising concern that global shipping markets have peaked.
- French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin quit as President Jacques Chirac moves to win back confidence in this government after losing a referendum on the European Union’s constitution two days ago.
- AIG lowered five years of profit by $3.9 billion to correct improper accounting.
- The US Supreme Court unanimously overturned accounting firm Arthur Andersen’s conviction for obstructing an investigation into energy trader Enron Corp.
- W. Mark Felt, the second in command at the FBI in the early 1970s, has revealed in the July 2005 issue of Vanity Fair magazine that he was “Deep Throat,” the source who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate break-in.
- Morgan Stanley Chief Economist Stephen Roach said he is no longer bearish on bonds, and that yields on 10-year Treasuries may fall to 3.5% over the next year.
- The euro fell to a seven-month low against the US dollar on concern France’s rejection of the EU constitution will slow the region’s economic integration.
- US Treasuries are rallying, commodities are dropping and the US dollar is rising on France’s rejection of the EU constitution.

Wall Street Journal:
- DreamWorks Animation SKG miscalculated sales for “Shrek 2” because the company didn’t understand the fast changing pace of the DVD market.
- Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond are being snapped up by hedge funds that know a bargain when they see one.
- US doctors are testing whether so-called smart drugs such as Novartis AG’s Gleevec and Genentech’s Avastin will help children fight cancer as well as adults.
- UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and other US health insurers are marketing policies for the 45 million Americans without insurance offering cheaper programs with fewer benefits.
- Purdue Pharma LP, which makes the OxyContin painkiller, and wholesaler HD Smith plan to use radio-frequency identification tags to record the movement of drugs.
- The US housing market isn’t in a “bubble” destined to burst, according to Brian Wesbury, chief investment strategist at Claymore Advisors.
- Wal-Mart caters to a growing number of Hispanic shoppers at its stores by offering a free magazine called Viviendo and printing monthly ad circulars in English and Spanish.
- GM and Ford are focusing on building sales in India, the world’s fastest growing auto market.

Chicago Sun-Times:
- Illinois lawmakers are poised to limit the awards from medical lawsuits over concerns that rising costs for malpractice insurance are prompting doctors to leave the state.

Dow Jones Newswires:
- Samsung Electronics raised its forecast for 2005 worldwide handset sales because of “robust” shipments during the first quarter.

USA Today:
- More US states are increasing their minimum wages, pushing hourly rates above $7 in some and reducing the role of the federal minimum wage.

Financial Times:
- A “poisonous” regulatory environment in the US played a part in the fall of the value of mergers and acquisitions in the financial services industry.
- Ameritrade Holding is in “advanced talks” to buy Toronto-Dominion Bank’s TD Waterhouse brokerage.

-Turkey’s probable entry into the European Union was the fifth most-cited reason by French voters who rejected the EU constitution in the May 29 referendum.

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