- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

The top business news from The Associated Press for the morning of Thursday, July 31, 2008:

Shell: Record 2Q net profit of $11.6 billion

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Thursday that second-quarter net profits rose 33 percent to a record $11.6 billion, up 33 percent from the same period a year ago, thanks to high oil prices and the weak dollar. The year ago figure was $8.67 billion.

___

Oil steady in Asia as Iran nuclear deadline nears

SINGAPORE (AP) _ Oil prices were steady Thursday in Asia after crude jumped more than $4 overnight as Iran vowed to continue its nuclear program and a U.S. agency reported America’s gasoline stocks unexpectedly fell last week. Only days remain until a deadline expires for Tehran to show it will stop expanding its uranium enrichment program, at least temporarily, or face the threat of new U.N. sanctions.

___

Aetna 2Q profit rises on membership, rates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)_ Health insurer Aetna says its second-quarter profit rose 6.4 percent on membership growth and a hike in premium rates. The Hartford, Conn.-based company earned $480.5 million, or 97 cents per share, compared with profit of $451.3 million, or 85 cents per share, during the same period last year.

___

Deutsche Bank 2Q net profit down 64 percent

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Deutsche Bank AG’s net profit fell 64 percent in the second quarter as financial market turbulence from the U.S. credit crisis led to €2.3 billion in writedowns, the bank said Thursday. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest, said net profit in the April through June period fell to €645 million ($1 billion) from €1.8 billion in the second quarter of 2007.

___

Stocks head for lower open ahead of GDP reading

NEW YORK (AP) _ U.S. stocks headed for a moderately lower open Thursday as investors await a key reading on the nation’s economic output to determine whether a two-day rally will continue. Wall Street expects the Commerce Department to report that gross domestic product advanced in the second quarter as consumers cashed tax rebate checks. Economists polled by Thomson Financial/IFR predict, on average, that GDP will have increased at a 2.4 percent annualized rate. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

___

Unilever 2Q down 21 percent

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Consumer products company Unilever PLC, maker of Dove soaps, Lipton teas and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, said Thursday net profit fell by 21 percent in the second quarter, hurt by the strong euro, higher taxes, and restructuring costs. The company said net profit was €909 million ($1.41 billion), down from €1.14 billion in the same period a year ago. Sales fell 1.4 percent to €10.4 billion ($16.2 billion).

___

Nations grapple with WTO talks failure

GENEVA (AP) _ The United States, Europe and other commercial powers grappled Wednesday with the magnitude of their failure to reach a new global trade pact, and traded blame for the collapse of seven years of talks. A day after a nine-day World Trade Organization summit ended without agreement, Peter Mandelson, the European Union’s top negotiator, said he had tried to broker a deal on the farm import issue that ultimately divided the United States and developing countries led by China and India.

___

Without fanfare, Bush signs mortgage relief bill

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush signed a housing bill Wednesday intended to rescue about 15 percent of the cash-strapped homeowners in fear of foreclosure in the next year or so. Early in the morning and out of public view, the president signed it without fanfare in the Oval Office, adding his signature to a measure he once threatened to veto. The White House said he was accompanied by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston and other administration officials.

___

Japan Markets

TOKYO (AP) _ The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 9.02 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 13,376.81.

___

Dollar-Yen

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar stood at 107.98 yen midafternoon in Tokyo, down from 108.09 yen in New York late Wednesday.

A service of The Associated Press. Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide