Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today's Headlines

- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attacked US dominance as he visiting Russia looking to secure a deal for eight Russian submarines and greater energy cooperation.
- A US District Court froze the assets of Lake Shore Asset Management, a hedge funds run by a former chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after misrepresentations in the fund’s financial statements were uncovered by the Commodity Futures Exchange Commission. Chicago-based Lake Shore purported to manage $1 billion for investors and traded in US commodities futures contracts with a 13-year profitability record. A review later showed the fund had about $466 million. Lake Shore barred regulators from inspecting its accounts on June 14, a violation of the Commodity Exchange Act.
- Jeremy Siegel, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business doesn’t see “excessive leverage” in the economy.
- Corn in Chicago fell for a third session this week as rains revive crops in the US Midwest threatened by unusually hot, dry weather earlier this month. Corn has plunged 19% in 9 trading days.
- Natural gas is plunging 5% to a five-month low after a weekly government report showed inventories are 18% above the five-year average for this time of the year as industrial demand falters.
- The Fed kept the benchmark US interest rate at 5.25% and said that core inflation has moderated, but that the moderation may not be sustainable.
- Petro-Canada, the third-largest oil company in Canada, and its partners will spend $24.6 billion on an oil-sands project in northern Alberta that’s one of the world’s most costly energy developments.
- A bald eagle swept above a crowd at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington as the Interior Department declared that the national bird is no longer threatened with extinction after four decades as an endangered species.
- GM(GM) agreed to sell its Allison Transmission unit to buyout firms Carlyle Group and Onex for $5.6 billion.
- Robert Steel, the US Treasury’s top finance official, said concerns that the near failure of two money-losing hedge funds run by Bear Stearns(BSC) might spark a financial crisis or hurt the economy are unfounded.
- Shares of Build-A-Bear Workshop(BBW) rose the most in almost three years after the maker of stuffed animals hired Lehman Brothers(LEH) to explore a sale, following a forecast of declining profit.
- The US Senate again blocked passage of comprehensive immigration legislation, almost certainly ending chances Congress will act this year on it.
- Ford Motor(F) said it’s offering three-year, no-interest loans on all 2007 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles to start making room at dealerships for next year’s models.
- Intel Corp.(INTC) was upgraded to “overweight” from “equal weight” at Lehman Brothers, which said a new series of semiconductors designed for laptop computers may boost revenue and earnings growth.

Wall Street Journal:
- Visa International Inc. will pay $170 million to sponsor soccer’s World Cup for eight years, citing FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car is opening a branch in Washington DC where customers will be offered vehicles that run on E85, a fuel comprising 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill(CMG), the Chicago Tribune(TRB) and Visa will sponsor the first Windy City Cornhole Classic on July 28 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The bag-tossing game known as cornhole, Bags, and Baggo has become the latest fad in the US Midwest at bars, parties and church picnics.
- Some US House Republicans have aligned with Wall Street in an attempt to halt a congressional proposal that would raises taxes substantially on financial firms.

- The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives endorsed a $4,000 pay raise that would increase their salaries to almost $170,000.

- Acciona SA has acquired the rights to develop wind parks in the US from EcoEnergy LLC. EcoEnergy has the rights to develop 1,300 megawatts of wind power. Acciona plans to invest $1.75 billion before 2009 in wind energy in the US.

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