- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2008

Regional

U NVR Inc., the Reston homebuilder whose biggest market is Washington, said first-quarter net income dropped 49 percent to $43.5 million ($7.42 per share) as the housing slump cut demand. Revenue fell 19 percent to $887.9 million. New home sales declined to the lowest in more than 13 years in 2007 as banks cut mortgage lending and prices fell amid a glut of unsold homes.

U Time Warner Inc.’s AOL Internet unit plans to cut about 100 jobs as the Sterling, Va., company integrates purchases of online advertising companies into its Platform A network for buying and selling ads. The job cuts will take place by the end of the month, AOL spokesman Eric Chandler said.

National

U Google Inc.’s stock soared 20 percent, restoring $28 billion in shareholder wealth as Wall Street renewed its love affair with the Internet search leader. Driven by stellar first-quarter results that surprised industry analysts, Google shares surged $89.87 to finish at $539.41. It marked the biggest one-day gain since Google’s initial public stock offering in August 2004.

U Options traders who predicted Google Inc. would beat estimates earned as much as 17,530 percent on their investments yesterday. Contracts giving the right to buy Google shares for $530 before the close of trading yesterday jumped as high as $17.63 from their 10-cent closing price Thursday.

U Venture capital investments in the United States dipped 5 percent to $7.1 billion during the first quarter compared to 2007, signaling the financing climate may be turning frostier for entrepreneurs. This was the first year-over-year decline in the venture capital industry’s quarterly investments since the end of 2005, based on data to be released Monday by the National Venture Capital Association, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Thomson Reuters.

U Motor home manufacturer Winnebago Industries Inc. said it will shut down most of its production lines for a week beginning Monday, the result of a continued slowdown in sales.

U GameStop Corp., the world’s largest video-game retailer, said President Steven Morgan will resign May 2 to “pursue other interests.”

U DirecTV Group Inc., the largest U.S. satellite-television provider, agreed to purchase 180 Connect Inc. for about $49 million to add installation services.

U A federal court of appeals sent Finisar Corp.’s patent infringement suit against DirecTV Group Inc. back to a lower court, vacating decisions that called for DirecTV to pay Finisar more than $100 million for infringing on an information-transmission patent.

U Electronic Arts Inc. extended its offer for Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. until May 16 after winning over just 8 percent of shareholders ahead of the launch of Take-Two’s “Grand Theft Auto 4,” a violent game widely expected to be the best-selling title of the year.

U The former owner of one of the world’s biggest commodities brokerages faces 85 years in prison after his conviction on charges of fraud that cost investors more than $1 billion. Tone N. Grant, 62, of Chicago, was convicted of all five counts Thursday in connection with a $2.4 billion scheme to defraud investors at Refco Inc.

U Amerco’s U-Haul International Inc. must pay $84 million to a 74-year-old man who was injured when the truck he rented ran over him, a jury said. Talmadge Waldrip parked the truck on a “slight incline” and the parking brake failed, said attorney Ted Lyon.

U Caterpillar Inc. parlayed an increased reliance on international markets to surprisingly strong sales and a 13 percent jump in first-quarter profits to $922 million ($1.45), impressing investors who expected the heavy equipment maker to be slowed more by the weak U.S. economy and dollar.

U Shareholder Trian Partners LP said that Wendy’s International Inc. rejected two offers it made to buy the company, according to a regulatory filing. Activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian called for a special meeting of shareholders to vote on the direction of the hamburger chain.

U Oil field services provider Halliburton Co. said it has held talks with European oil field contractor Expro International Group PLC about a possible all-cash purchase of the overseas outfit. A private equity consortium led by London-based Candover Group said Thursday it will buy Expro International for $3.2 billion.

U Online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. has been sued in federal court over its sale of auction rate securities. Sheldon Silverstein says he and others were told by Ameritrade that auction rate securities were as safe as cash, but ended up with securities they can’t sell.

International

U The Bank of England will pump an extra $100 billion into the banking system as early as next week, BBC television reported. Without citing sources, the broadcaster said the Bank of England would issue one-year bonds over three years and swap them for securitized mortgage assets the banks cannot sell.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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