Thursday, May 12, 2005

Today's Headlines

- Cornell University scientists have developed a machine that can replicate itself, potentially paving the way for robots that could repair themselves while working in space or in hazardous conditions.
- Sabre Holdings, operator of the travel service, agreed to buy for $1.08 billion to add the UK’s largest Internet travel business.
- Italy’s economy, Europe’s fourth-biggest, unexpectedly fell into recession for the second time in less than two years as rising oil prices and concern about the growth outlook eroded corporate investment and consumer spending.
- Wal-Mart Stores said first-quarter profit rose 13.6%, below analysts’ estimates, as rising gas prices hurts sales of general merchandise.
- Berkshire Hathaway is paying more to sell debt on concern the company’s ties to American International Group will hurt its credit rating.
- JP Morgan, among the banks most bearish on the US dollar at the end of last quarter, joined ABN Amro Holding NV and Citigroup in raising its dollar forecast as the US economy extends its expansion.
- Ford’s credit rating was cut two levels today by Moody’s Investors Service to one step above junk-bond status after the second-biggest US automaker said its earnings will fall short of forecasts.
- US Treasuries fell after a government report showed April retail sales increased more than forecast, bolstering confidence the economy is gaining momentum.
- Crude oil is fell below $49/bbl., dropping for a second day after reports showed rising US petroleum inventories and slower growth in Chinese demand.
- the US dollar surged to a six-month high against the euro and gained versus the yen after US retail sales in April rose the most in seven months.

Wall Street Journal:
- A US Senate panel accused European officials of secretly receiving millions of barrels of Iraqi oil before the US liberation of Iraq and then covering up the profit.
- Toyota Motor faces concerns over quality standards as it shifts more production to developing countries to trim costs.
- Half of the US still lacks the technology needed to locate cell phone users in distress.
- France Telecom SA’s Orange unit, Vodphone Group Plc and other European wireless providers expect that sex video clips will help encourage the use of their broadband mobile-phone services.
- Russian officials are protecting the piracy of films, music, business software and books, helping make the country one of the biggest producers of counterfeit electronic goods.
- Global Crossing, which runs a high-speed fiber-optic network for sending calls and data, and rival companies are still trying to cope with a glut of capacity.
- Sales of identity-management software, which gives companies more control over who is accessing their networks, are soaring as more businesses turn to the software to save money and increase security.
- US CEOs may be required to certify the accuracy of their companies’ tax returns or face stiff penalties as part of a spending bill before Congress expected to be passed this week.
- Short positions outstanding at big US stock markets have risen more than 9% this year, to record highs.
- SABMiller Plc will boost advertising for its cheapest beers, Milwaukee’s Best and Miller High Life, by 35% this year in an effort to win customers from larger brew Anheuser-Busch.

Chicago Tribune:
- The Chicago City Council has voted to ban motorists from holding cellular phones while driving and may fine violators as much as $200.

Orlando Sentinel:
- Florida’s Orlando International Airport next week will begin using an iris-scanning device to verify employees’ identities before allowing them access to secured areas.

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