- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2007

Regional

U Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. buyer and guarantor of home mortgages, said its 2006 profit dropped 36 percent and said it expects higher delinquencies and credit losses this year from the turbulence in the mortgage market. The District-based company said it earned $4.1 billion ($3.65 a share) last year, down from $6.35 billion ($6.01) in 2005.

U Sprint Nextel Corp. of Reston laid out its financial targets for its WiMAX wireless broadband network, saying it expects revenue of $2 billion to $2.5 billion from the network in 2010. The No. 3 wireless carrier is spending $2.5 billion through next year to build the network it hopes will differentiate itself from others.

U D.C. buyout firm Carlyle Group should put a stop to public opposition by Manor Care Inc., a nursing home operator it agreed to buy last month, to increased funding for children’s medical benefits, said the Service Employees International Union, the largest U.S. health care workers union. Nursing home operators say the children’s program takes money away from Medicare.

U General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, the largest supplier of armored vehicles to the U.S. military, won $2.25 billion in work for the Air Force to help support the service’s worldwide information-technology systems. The award builds on a contract first given to the company in 2003, the Defense Department said.

U Time Warner Inc.’s AOL, the Sterling, Va., Internet service provider, introduced a new version of the Truveo.com video-search Web site to attract Internet surfers seeking user-generated clips and TV shows. The site will let users browse videos by category, locate free clips and direct users to the Web sites of channels such as Comedy Central and ABC.com.

National

U Bear Stearns Cos. shares surged 13 percent, the most since October 1998, after investment bankers Punk Ziegel & Co. said the nation’s fifth-biggest securities firm “may have gotten new equity funding” that would “stop all rumors concerning potentially more adverse results.” Meanwhile, Bear Stearnssaid it would cut 240 jobs at its mortgage lending unit.

U First Magnus Financial Corp., a national mortgage lender that was on track to fund $36 billion in loans this year, stopped originating new loans and said it was suspending operations. Company officials said the Tucson, Ariz., lender was caught in the credit crunch even though it was not engaged in selling subprime mortgages.

U Radian Group Inc., the third-largest U.S. mortgage insurer, said it borrowed $200 million from a revolving credit line. “Although the company has no immediate needs for additional liquidity, [it] drew on the facility to provide it with greater financial flexibility and adequate liquidity for the long term,” Radian said in a regulatory filing.

U MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc. shares rose after Morgan Stanley estimated that the bond insurers’ losses on securities backed by subprime mortgages will be less than expected. Ambac may face losses of about $1.8 billion due to its exposure to collateralized debt obligations, while losses for MBIA could total $1.3 billion, Morgan Stanley said.

U KKR Financial Holdings shares rose 26 percent after Arlington investment bank Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co.’s raised its rating on the affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. following its sale of residential mortgage-backed securities. The firm upgraded the shares to “outperform.” The stock has fallen 51 percent this year.

U Rates on 30-year mortgages edged up slightly this week after falling for three straight weeks. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.62 percent, up from 6.59 percent last week, which had been the lowest level since early June.

U Fifth Third Bancorp said it is buying First Charter Corp. in a deal valued at $1.09 billion, expanding its presence in the southeast to North Carolina and suburban Atlanta. Cincinnati-based Fifth Third said the deal will be financed with stock and 30 percent cash. The company will pay $31 per share, a 53 percent premium to First Charter’s closing price of $20.25 on Wednesday.

U The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week in a possible signal that labor markets are beginning to weaken. The Labor Department reported that jobless claims totaled 322,000 last week, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week. The four-week average for claims was also up, rising by 4,750 to 312,500.

U Diebold Inc. said it has failed to sell its voting technology business, which is used in elections across the country, amid criticism that its voting machines were not reliable. Instead it will allow the unit to operate more independently, giving it a separate board of directors that includes independent members and perhaps a new management structure.

U New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office said it is investigating whether colleges receive cash or perks for guiding students in the U.S. to certain study-abroad organizations. Mr. Cuomo issued subpoenas to five organizations that facilitate overseas studying.

U A fire broke out at Chevron’s largest U.S. refinery in Pascagoula, Miss., but authorities said there were no immediate reports of injuries.

U Skype, the popular computer program that lets its users make long-distance phone calls over the Internet, said software problems have left many of its millions of users without service worldwide. The unit of EBay Inc. said users in Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, Germany, Finland and the United States reported difficulties logging on.

U Two longtime rivals in computing, IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., plan to cooperate on server technologies, a move that could put pressure on their joint competitor Hewlett-Packard Co. The collaboration will enable Sun’s Solaris operating system to run on IBM servers.

U Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks, owner of the namesake cable channel, plans to invest more than $500 million in its video games business over the next two years to expand its brands. The focus will be on developing online, mobile and console games, the company said. MTV’s game-related Web sites include Shockwave and AddictingGames.

U Jay-Z, 37, wins all around, says Forbes.com. He’s got Beyonce on his arm — and more millions than 50 Cent and Diddy. The rap icon, aka Shawn Carter, is No. 1 on the site’s list of “Hip-Hop Cash Kings,” based solely on 2006 income. The president and chief executive of Def Jam Recordings banked an estimated $34 million as his 11th studio album, “Kingdom Come,” sold about 2 million copies.

International

U The European Union will examine why credit rating agencies were slow to react to early signs of U.S.loan defaults that are now worrying investors worldwide, EU officials said. The inquiry will be looking specifically at whether there were conflicts of interest, they said.

U A Moscow court issued an arrest warrant for a fugitive vodka tycoon, prosecutors said, as the Russian government continues its push to take back overseas rights to the iconic Stolichnaya vodka. The Basmanny District Court upheld requests that Yury Shefler, the head of the SPI group of companies, be arrested on charges including the use of violence against a government official and trademark violations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide