- - Monday, July 18, 2011


Borders’ fate to be decided this week

NEW YORKBorders Group is edging closer to extinction after no new bids surfaced on Monday in an auction process for the bookstore chain other than the opening bid from two liquidation firms.

Borders Group, which helped pioneer the big-box bookseller concept and once operated more than 1,000 stores before shrinking to its current 400, last week assigned the opening bid in its auction process set for Tuesday to two liquidation firms, Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group. The move came after a bid fell through from private-equity firm Najafi Cos. that could have kept the chain a going concern. Creditors and landlords said liquidation was a better deal.

If no other bids materialize, the auction will be canceled and a final court approval hearing on the liquidators’ bid will be held Thursday.

Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis had no comment on the bidding process.


Debt worries drag down market

NEW YORK — Europe’s debt troubles and an impasse over lifting the U.S. government’s borrowing limit are dragging down stocks.

The S&P 500 index dropped 11 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 1,305. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 95 points, 0.8 percent, to 12,385.

The Nasdaq fell 25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,765.

The results of stress tests on European banks released last week came under deeper scrutiny. The tests failed to measure how banks would fare if Greece or Italy defaults.

In the U.S., the debt limit debate remains at a standstill. The limit must be raised by Aug. 2 or the government risks a default.

Five stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was slightly below average at 3.7 billion shares.


Bank of America shares hit two-year low

NEW YORK — Bank of America shares hit a two-year low Monday.

The stock fell 3.6 percent in midday trading, hitting a low of $9.53. It is the only large bank with a share price in the single digits.

Most bank stocks fell Monday on fears about the effect of a potential U.S. government debt default. Banks hold large amounts of U.S. Treasurys as liquid assets to use almost like cash on hand. Citigroup Inc.’s shares are down 3.5 percent to $37, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s stock was down 1.3 percent to $39.50, and Wells Fargo & Co.’s shares fell 2.4 percent to $26.52.

However, investors have been selling off Bank of America stock for several months. In the past 12 months, Bank of America Corp.’s stock has fallen 35 percent, making it the third worst performing stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. On Friday, the stock fell below $10 for the first time since May 2009. The stock had traded as low as $2.53 in February 2009 during the throes of the financial crisis.

The stock decline is a setback for the nation’s largest bank and its CEO Brian Moynihan, who has had to deal with multiple crises in the last year. Most have been related to mortgage problems stemming from the bank’s 2008 purchase of Countrywide Financial.


GM to update pickup factory

FLINT, Mich. — General Motors plans to spend $328 million to update a factory in Flint to build the next generation of full-size pickup trucks.

The investment will pay for equipment to build the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, which are due in showrooms early in 2013.

The investment is part of $2 billion GM is spending to create or retain 4,000 jobs in eight states over the next 18 months.

At the Flint Assembly Plant, it will add about 150 jobs, said Dana Rouse, bargaining chairman for the United Auto Workers union local at the plant.

The plant currently employs 2,047 people and made 115,000 trucks last year. GM also makes pickups in Silao, Mexico.

GM U.S. pickup truck sales were up about 13 percent through June compared with a year earlier, about the same increase as the overall U.S. market.


Amazon: Students can rent digital textbooks

SAN FRANCISCO | Amazon.com on Monday began letting students rent textbooks on Kindle electronic readers.

Kindle Textbook Rentals lets students pay based on how long they want to use textbooks, with periods ranging from 30 days to 360 days.

Renting a digital version of textbooks on a Kindle for a month can save students as much as 80 percent of the price of buying the works, said Amazon Kindle vice president Dave Limp.

Amazon boasted having tens of thousands of digitized textbooks at amazon.com/kindletextbooks from publishers such as John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis.

Students’ margin notes and highlights will be stored in the Amazon’s cloud and will be accessible if students decide to re-rent or purchase the books sometime after having completed the rental term, according to E-Commerce Times.

Rented Kindle Textbooks can be read on many device including iPads, smartphones, computers, and iPod touch devices.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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