- - Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WALL STREET

Stocks rise after Berlusconi vows to go

NEW YORK — Stocks turned higher Tuesday after investors got the news they had been hoping for: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised to resign once a new budget was passed. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 101 points.

Italy became a key focus for investors this week after doubts emerged that the country would go through with a tough package of austerity measures. Many investors saw Mr. Berlusconi as an obstacle to sweeping economic reforms that would be needed to help Italy cut its debt load and avoid sinking into a debt crisis.

The yield on the 10-year Italian government bond spiked close to 7 percent Tuesday, a sign that markets are questioning the country’s ability to pay its debt. Unlike Greece, Portugal and Ireland, all of which received financial lifelines, Italy has too much debt to be rescued by its European neighbors.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 101.79 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 12,170.18. Manufacturer 3M Co. gained 2.7 percent, the most of the 30 stocks in the average.

LABOR

Employers post most job openings in 3 years

Employers advertised more jobs in September than at any other point in the past three years. The increase suggests hiring could pick up in the next few months.

Competition for jobs is fierce. And many employers aren’t rushing to fill some because they are worried about the strength of the economy.

Still, most economists say the increase in openings is a reassuring sign.

Nearly 3.4 million jobs were posted in September, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s the most since August 2008, one month before the financial crisis intensified.

Job openings have rebounded from a decade low of 2.1 million in July 2009.

BANKS

Wells Fargo to pay $37M in bid-rigging case

DES MOINES, Iowa — Wells Fargo & Co. said Tuesday it has agreed to pay at least $37 million in a lawsuit that alleges several banks rigged bidding competitions to win business from state and local governments.

Banks help municipalities invest the money they raise from bond offerings to earn interest before paying for projects. They compete by submitting to state and local governments the best yield they can offer.

The lawsuit alleges several banks rigged the process and deprived governments of a true competitive process that would produce the best returns on their investments.

The lawsuit was consolidated from several states cases into the Southern District of New York in 2008.

It alleges many top investment banks conspired to rig the bidding process, “sharing their illegal gains through kickbacks to one another, and making other secret, undisclosed arrangements.”

AIRLINES

Republic Airways looks into split with Frontier

Frontier Airlines could soon be up for sale.

Known to travelers as the airline with pictures of animals on the tails of its planes, Frontier Airlines has lost $102.4 million this year. Smaller planes have been jettisoned and unprofitable flights cut by its owner, Republic Airways, in an attempt to turn Frontier’s finances around.

Republic thinks that Frontier will be profitable next year, not counting interest payments, and says it will bring advisers on board to help find a buyer.

The company had “substantially achieved” the $120 million in cost savings it was seeking for Frontier, Republic Chairman and CEO Bryan Bedford said.

Frontier had 95 planes as of Sept. 30, down from 100 a year ago.

INSIDER TRADING

Ex-hedge fund boss fined $92M in trading case

NEW YORK — A judge has cited the “huge and brazen” nature of the crime as he imposed a $92 million civil penalty on a hedge fund boss snared in the biggest insider trading case ever.

Federal Judge Jed Rakoff ordered the penalty Tuesday for Raj Rajaratnam.

He said Rajaratnam’s insider trading scheme “cries out for the kind civil penalty that will deprive” him of a material part of his fortune.

The one-time billionaire was convicted earlier this year of insider-trading charges and was sentenced last month to 11 years in prison.

Prosecutors said he earned as much as $75 million in illegal profits. They say he acted on secrets he got from friends and colleagues in the securities industry and at public companies.

EUROPE

Brazil willing to help IMF with funds for Europe

BRASILIA, Brazil — Europe’s debt crisis is giving Brazil an opportunity to show its growing economic power.

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said Tuesday the country is ready to help the International Monetary Fund take on the economic crisis affecting Greece, Italy and other European Union countries.

But he told reporters that those countries must take more decisive action to solve the problems.

Among the tasks mentioned by Mr. Mantega are the creation of a European Fund to deal with the debt crisis and greater use of the European Central Bank.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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