Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today's Headlines

- BlackRock Inc., the largest publicly-traded US asset manager, said it agreed to buy the funds of funds arm of Quellos Group LLC for as much as $1.7 billion. The business includes funds investing in hedge funds and private-equity funds.
- Freddie Mac(FRE) Treasurer Timothy Bitsberger said the subprime mortgage slump is “severe but contained.”
- Bear Stearns Cos.’(BSC) bailout of two money-losing hedge funds won’t reduce earnings at the fifth-biggest US brokerage, Lehman Brothers(LEH) said.
- Apple’s(AAPL) iPhone customers, who will shell out as much as $600 for the handset this week, will pay less for service than other phone users.
- The SEC today announced settled enforcement actions against London-based hedge fund adviser GLG Partners, LP for illegal short selling in connection with 14 IPOs.
- Copper declined in NY on signs that consumption may be slowing in China, the world’s largest user of the metal, and the US, the second-biggest.
- BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, food maker Associated British Foods Plc and chemicals producer DuPont Co. will build a biofuels plant in England as demand for renewable energy jumps.
- Crude oil is falling $1.45/bbl. on forecasts that an EIA report will show US oil and fuel inventories rose again. US oil inventories are now at levels last seen in May 1998 when oil was around $10-$12/bbl.
- Gold is falling to a three-month low in NY, and silver tumbled to the lowest since January on speculation that investors will seek higher returns from US Treasury bonds.

Wall Street Journal:
- CEOs of US financial-services companies are looking for ways to save free-trade agreements by helping those who have lost jobs or are poorly paid because of the accords. The Financial Services Forum, which represents the executives, wants to head off protectionist legislation that could hurt the US economy.
- A high percentage of US oil refineries are idled for “maintenance,” which means industry profits and gasoline prices will be high in the country this summer.
- The American Bankers Assoc. and America’s Community Bankers announced yesterday that they’ve agreed to merge, citing the two organizations.
- Tyson Foods(TSN) might become more appealing to investors if its plan to change itself from a seller of unbranded chicken, beef and pork to a packaged-food company succeeds.
- Microsoft(MSFT) and VMware Inc., a US developer of so-called “virtualization” software, are gearing up for a battle that might give companies more freedom to choose alternatives to Microsoft’s products.

NY Times:
- The US Homeland Security Dept. is testing s so-called virtual border in southern Arizona made of 100-foot-tall towers with radar and camera equipment.
- The US’s Case Foundation is allowing the public to decide who should benefit from some of its money, to inspire new ideas for improving communities. The foundation, begun by America Online founder Steve Case and his wife Jean, is asking individuals and local not-for-profit bodies to submit ideas.
- The US Energy Department will announce today that it’s setting up three research centers charged with bringing to market fuels derived from plants, citing Raymond Orbach, the under secretary of energy for science.
- Andreas Bechtolsheim, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems(SUNW), plans to present today a supercomputer that may be the world’s fastest when it’s installed at the Texas Advanced Computer Center this year.
- AFL-CIO opposition to immigration reform legislation before the Senate outweighs support from nearly all other unions, which could pressure some Democrats to vote against it.

Washington Post:
- Latin Labor Solutions International, an American-founded company operating in Mexico, provides several thousand temporary Mexican workers with a legal passageway to the US every year.

- Dow Jones(DJ) and News Corp.(NWS/A) have reached an agreement on editorial board independence at the Wall Street Journal.

Financial Times:
- Franklin Resources(BEN) of the US, the world’s biggest fund manager by market capitalization, is planning a push in the UK, citing an interview with CEO Johnson.

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