Business HighlightsBy AP
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Southwest Airlines to buy AirTran for $1.4B
NEW YORK (AP) — Southwest agreed to buy AirTran in a $1.4 billion deal that will combine two of the country’s largest low-fare airlines and give Southwest a bigger slice of the market in the Northeast and in Atlanta, the busiest hub in the nation.
The acquisition announced Monday moves Southwest, which already carries more passengers than any other American airline, into 37 new cities.
It gains a foothold in cities like New York and Boston, where it has already been expanding, and adds to its push to expand internationally.
Southwest has been targeting Atlanta, where AirTran currently competes with Delta Air Lines, because it is a hub for business travelers, who tend to pay higher fares.
Segway owner dies after falling off river cliff
LONDON (AP) — A wealthy British businessman who owns the company that makes the two-wheeled Segway has been found dead in a river in northern England after apparently falling off a cliff on one of the vehicles, police said Monday.
The body of 62-year-old Jimi Heselden and a Segway personal transporter were found in the River Wharfe and he was pronounced dead at the scene, West Yorkshire Police said.
Heselden, who bought control of the Bedford, New Hampshire-based Segway company in December, made his fortune through his firm Hesco Bastion Ltd., which developed a successful blast wall system that replaced the sand bags once used to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Stocks edge lower as a 4-week rally loses steam
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks took a pause Monday from their big September rally as worries about the financial sector offset excitement over a fresh round of corporate dealmaking.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 48 points in a late-day slide, but it’s still up 8 percent for the month, putting it on track for its best September since 1939.
Prior to Monday the Dow Jones industrial average had risen in each of the past four weeks, its longest winning streak since eight consecutive weekly gains ended in late April when stocks hit their highest levels of the year.
Wal-Mart offers to buy Massmart for $4.25B
NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is offering to buy South African retailer Massmart Holdings Ltd. for about $4.25 billion in a bid to jump-start growth beyond its sluggish U.S. business.
A deal would give the world’s largest retailer an opening to expand in South Africa, a fast-growing economy but one that’s also troubled by high crime and a 24 percent unemployment rate. It also has a heavily unionized work force.
Wal-Mart has focused on expanding overseas, particularly in emerging markets, but South Africa had not been an area that officials had discussed as a potential opportunity.
Unilever to buy Alberto Culver for $3.7 bln
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Consumer products maker Unilever NV said Monday it has agreed to buy Alberto Culver Co., the U.S. maker of beauty products such as TRESemme, VO5 and Noxzema, for $3.7 billion in a management-backed deal.
Unilever, which makes Dove soaps, Degree deodorants and Suave shampoos, said it will offer $37.50 per share for Alberto Culver, a 19 percent premium to its closing price in New York on Friday. The deal must be approved by regulators and Culver shareholders.
Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman said Culver will fit well with his company’s current beauty range.
Despite economy, Americans don’t want farm work
VISALIA, Calif. (AP) — It’s a question rekindled by the recession: Are immigrants taking jobs away from American citizens? In the heart of the nation’s biggest farming state, the answer is a resounding no.
Government data analyzed by The Associated Press show most Americans simply don’t apply to harvest fruits and vegetables. And the few Americans who do usually don’t stay in the fields.
The AP analysis showed that, from January to June, California farmers posted ads for 1,160 farmworker positions open to U.S. citizens and legal residents. But only 233 people in those categories applied after learning of the jobs through unemployment offices in California, Texas, Nevada and Arizona.
One grower brought on 36. No one else hired any.
BlackBerry maker offers tablet aimed at businesses
NEW YORK (AP) — The company that gave us the BlackBerry — still the dominant phone in corporate circles — thinks its business customers will have room in their briefcases for at least one more device: the PlayBook.
Research in Motion Ltd. showed off the tablet for the first time Monday and is set to launch it early 2011, with an international rollout later in the year. With it RIM is betting on a smaller, lighter device than Apple Inc.’s iPad, which kicked-started the tablet market when it launched in April.
The PlayBook will have a 7-inch screen, making it half the size of the iPad, and weigh about 0.9 pounds to the iPad’s 1.5 pounds. And unlike the iPad, it will have two cameras, front and back.
Report: US would make Internet wiretaps easier
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is pushing to make it easier for the government to tap into internet and e-mail communications. But the plan has already drawn condemnation from privacy groups and communications firms may be wary of its costs and scope.
Frustrated by sophisticated and often encrypted phone and e-mail technologies, U.S. officials say that law enforcement needs to improve its ability to eavesdrop on conversations involving terrorism, crimes or other public safety issues.
Critics worry the changes are an unnecessary invasion of privacy and would only make citizens and businesses more vulnerable to identity theft and espionage.
Spill panel: Federal confusion lost public trust
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration’s repeated low estimates of the huge BP oil spill undermined public confidence in the government’s entire cleanup effort, leaders of a White House-appointed commission declared at an investigatory hearing Monday. One likened the mistakes to Custer’s disastrous decisions at Little Big Horn.
Federal officials botched the government’s response, a local official and government and university scientists contended as the commission focused on the questions of who was in charge and how much oil spewed out of the well into the Gulf of Mexico.
Eventually, U.S. officials said the spill was about 60 times bigger than originally estimated. Instead of 42,000 gallons a day, the volume of leaking oil was closer to 2.4 million gallons a day.
US to expand rules for tracking money transfers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is proposing that banks report all electronic money transfers in and out of the U.S., expanding its anti-terrorism requirements for financial institutions.
Officials at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said Monday that the new requirement would boost their ability to track the source of funding for terrorists.
Currently banks are required to only report cash transactions above $10,000. They are also required to keep records on all electronic transfers of money in and out of the country above $3,000 and provide that information to law enforcement officials if asked to do so.
|By The Associated Press|
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48.22, or 0.4 percent, to close at 10,812.04.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 6.51, or 0.6 percent, to 1,142.16, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 11.45, or 0.5 percent, to 2,369.77.
Benchmark oil for November delivery added 3 cents to settle at $76.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In other Nymex trading, natural gas fell as tropical storms threats to Gulf of Mexico production evaporated. Natural gas lost 8.1 cents to settle at $3.800 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Heating oil fell 0.78 cent to settle at $2.1228 a gallon and gasoline added 0.17 cent to $1.9488 a gallon.
In London, Brent crude lost 30 cents to settle at $78.57 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
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