- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Regional

U Shares of Amerigroup Corp., a Virginia Beach provider of managed health care for poor Americans in 11 states, dropped 9 percent after failing to win a contract with Tennessee. The shares fell $2.60 to $26.49 after earlier touching $24.57.

U The average U.S. household reported spending $1,405 on consumer electronics products in the past 12 months, $120 more than the year before, according to a survey by Arlington-based industry group Consumer Electronics Association.

U Lockheed Martin of Bethesda said its first-quarter earnings rose 6 percent as higher sales of space equipment, missiles and other combat tools offset a dip in fighter jet sales. Net income was $730 million ($1.75 per share), up from $690 million ($1.60) a year ago. Revenue increased to $9.98 billion from $9.27 billion.

U Fannie Mae won a two-year fight against the Internal Revenue Service to make losses in its loan portfolios more valuable from a tax standpoint, a victory that could be bolstered by legislation now before Congress. The IRS withdrew proposed regulations that asserted that any losses from mortgage loans could be used only to offset capital gains, not ordinary income.

U Fannie Mae plans to change its guidelines to discourage homeowners from walking away from their loans. Borrowers who say they intend to covert their homes into a rental or investment property in order to get a loan for a new home may be excluded from Fannie Mae financing, the company said, because they often are lying about their plans.

U Norfolk Southern of Norfolk said first-quarter profit rose 2.1 percent on shipments of commodities such as coal and grains. Net income increased to $291 million (76 cents) from $285 million (71 cents) a year earlier. Sales rose 11 percent to $2.5 billion.

U A federal judge in Baltimore issued a preliminary injunction barring Tyson Foods from advertising that its poultry products don’t contain antibiotics thought to lead to drug resistance in humans. The ruling was a victory for rivals Perdue Farms, of Salisbury, Md., and Sanderson Farms, of Laurel, Miss., who are suing to stop the advertisements because no poultry producers use antibiotics.

National

U Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin told the Senate Commerce Committee his agency has all the authority it needs to prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against Web surfers and that new legislation is unnecessary.

U Yahoo Inc. had its first profit increase in two years because of a gain from a stake in Alibaba.com Ltd., results that could fail to persuade investors to reject Microsoft Corp.’s takeover offer. Net income rose to $542.2 million (37 cents). Excluding the gain and the cost of stock options, profit rose 10 percent to 11 cents per share, beating projections.

International

U The Royal Bank of Scotland announced the biggest stock sale in British history, asking shareholders for $23.9 billion to shore up finances after revealing new and extensive losses from exposure to bad U.S. mortgages. Analysts think the offer will be followed by offers from other major British banks.

U China’s proposed food safety law, which promises tough penalties including possible life imprisonment for makers of dangerous food products, is a good first step, industry officials and analysts said. Producers of substandard food could be sentenced to life in prison under the draft law, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

U Boeing and Airbus said they will cooperate on the development of the next generation of air traffic control systems intended to eliminate congestion at airports. Scott Carson, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial arm, said the rival plane makers would join forces to ensure that new air traffic systems being developed in Europe and the United States are fully interoperable.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

U Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said he will resist calls to shrink General Electric Co. any more than he was already planning. “There are more reviews and intensity, but no real change to the strategy,” Mr. Immelt said in advance of today’s annual meeting, his first face-to-face meeting with investors since this month’s surprise drop in profit. “The strategy remains intact.”

U Roche must pay more than $10.5 million to a Utah woman who blamed the Accutane acne medication for her inflammatory bowel disease, a jury ruled, handing the company its third straight trial loss. Roche failed to properly warn Kamie Kendall about the risks of Accutane, which helped cause the loss of the 24-year-old woman’s colon, jurors in Atlantic City, N.J., found.

U The Securities and Exchange Commission says it has charged Broadcom Corp. with falsifying its reported income by illegally backdating stock options for five years. Federal officials said the Irvine, Calif.-based semiconductor maker agreed to pay $12 million to settle the charges.

U Netflix Inc.’s stock plunged 24 percent, an abrupt reversal in fortune driven by concerns about the rising costs facing the online DVD rental leader as it adapts to new technology for watching movies and TV shows. The shares fell $9.32 to $30. Net income of $13.4 million (21 cents), up from $9.9 million (14 cents) a year ago met estimates, but Netflix reduced its outlook for the year.

U Showing few signs of being affected by a slowing economy, AT&T; Inc.’s first-quarter earnings rose 22 percent on strong growth in wireless even as the local-phone business is stuck with declining numbers. Net income was $3.46 billion (57 cents ) in the quarter ended March 31, compared with $2.85 billion (45 cents) a year ago. Revenue rose 6.1 percent to $30.7 billion.

U 84 Lumber Co. of Eighty Four, Pa., locked in a little protection against the tumultuous credit and housing markets with two five-year financing packages worth a total of close to $590 million. The long-term deals arranged by SunTrust Bank and Wachovia Bank should help the professional building supply company avoid going back to lenders until the economy starts to settle down.

U Efforts to help beleaguered borrowers are still falling short as 70 percent of homeowners who are two months behind on their mortgages still aren’t getting aid, a new report found. Slow assistance is partly why the number of homeowners facing foreclosure increased 16 percent, the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group found.

U Northrop Grumman Corp., the surprise winner over Boeing Co. for an Air Force refueling tanker program, defeated its larger rival for the second time in less than two months in a $1.16 billion unmanned Navy spy-plane contest. Northrop’s Global Hawk drone, which is already flown by the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan, beat Boeing and a third offer from Lockheed Martin Corp.


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