Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Today's Headlines

- The yen rose against the dollar and the euro after the People’s Daily, a Communist Party-owned newspaper, said that China will revalue its currency next week after keeping it pegged for the past decade.
- US mortgage applications rose 9.4% last week, the most since January, as filings for home purchases surged to a record and more people refinanced.
- Bonds of Delphi and Visteon fell on concern that the two biggest US makers of auto parts will have more trouble paying their debts.
- The US dollar is rising to the highest in almost a month against the euro and erased a decline versus the yen after the US trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in March.
- Crude oil is falling more than $1/bbl. in NY after a government report showed that US inventories rose to the highest since July 1999.
- The US Capitol, part of the White House and other federal buildings in Washington were evacuated for about 30 minutes today after a private plane strayed into restricted airspace within three miles of the presidential residence.
- Billionaire Carl Icahn probably won a seat on the board of Blockbuster after waging a proxy battle to displace Chairman Antioco.
- The cost to insure US investment-grade debt against default reached its highest in at least two years, boosted by investors’ concern over automakers’ credit.

Wall Street Journal:
- Bradford Hu, a senior Morgan Stanley executive in the equities division, resigned on May 9 after more than 18 years at the firm.
- US appliance-maker Maytag Corp. regularly paid a dividend for decades, and the board my decide tomorrow to cut or stop the quarterly cash payout after an 80% collapse in first-quarter earnings.
- Molson Coors Brewing facing hurdles including the cancellation of the National Hockey League season and a switch to lower-priced beers, both in its biggest market of Canada.
- Wyndham International put itself up for sale.
- Altria Group’s tough legal strategy to defend Philip Morris against lawsuits is starting to pay off.
- Fannie Mae will be increasing its purchases of 40-year mortgages, giving lenders an incentive to offer more of them.
- PG&E, Edison International and Sempra Energy plan to replace conventional electric and gas meters in California with meters that provide current usage information.

NY Times:
- The SEC widened its investigation of Saks Inc. unit Saks Fifth Avenue to include payments deductions to clothing makers for allegedly defective products, also known as chargebacks.
- The US House of Representatives may pass bills today increasing minimum sentences for federal drug offences, establishing minimum penalties for courthouse crimes and broadening the definition of a street gang.

NY Post:
- Walt Disney is considering selling ABC Radio because of slow growth in the industry.

- Nintendo has selected IGN Entertainment to enable users of its Nintendo DS hand-held game machine to play each other online using wireless “hot spots.”

Washington Post:
- The criminal trial of the former finance director of Senator Hillary Clinton began in Los Angeles yesterday, a proceeding that will be closely watched by politicians from both parties.

Philadelphia Inquirer:
- Comcast said revenue and cash flow will increase through 2008 as it adds phone customers and existing customers switch to more expensive digital television.

Financial Times Deutschland:
- The OECD has lowered its forecast for growth in the dozen countries sharing the euro to 1.6% this year from a prior estimate of 1.9%.

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