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Wholesale Prices Soar; U.S. Bancorp Sees Earnings Slide; Johnson & Johnson Enjoys 40% Jump in Profit; China Buys 1% of BP for $1.7 Billion; Brazil's Retail Sales Hit Four-Year Record; Crocs Stock Drops; Intel Profit Down; Big Loss for WaMu
- U.S. producer prices rose almost twice as much as forecast, the Labor Department reported yesterday (Tuesday). Wholesale prices surged 1.1% in March, led by rising energy and food prices, which jumped 2.9% and 1.2% respectively.
- U.S. Bancorp (USB) announced yesterday (Tuesday) that first-quarter earnings fell 4% as a result of losses connected to the mortgage crunch but said its credit problems will continue to be manageable. The Minneapolis-based bank said it earned $1.09 billion, or 62 cents per share, down from $1.13 billion, or 63 cents per share, during the same period last year. Revenues were $3.87 billion, up 14% from $3.39 billion in the first quarter of 2007, the .
- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) reported a 40% jump in first-quarter profit, mainly due to the weak dollar boosting foreign revenues and a charge that depressed results a year ago, the . The company reported net income of $3.6 billion, for the first three months of the year, up from $2.57 billion a year ago. Though, the year-ago quarter included a charge of $807 million for research and development related to the acquisition of Conor Medsystems Inc.
- China's $200 billion sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp. (CIC), purchased a 1% stake in BP PLC (BP), worth about $1.97 billion, Bloomberg reported. Last year, CIC spent upwards of $8 billion on stakes in The Blackstone Group (BX) and Morgan Stanley (MS).
- February retail sales in Brazil rose 12.2% from the prior year, marking the fastest pace since 2004. The statistics boost expectations that its central bank will raise interest rates in the red-hot economy from 11.25% to 11.50%, Bloomberg reported.
- Shares of Crocs Inc. (CROX) dropped 43% yesterday (Tuesday) with a $7.68 decline to close at $10.11 after the Niwot, Colorado-based colorful shoemaker lowered its profit guidance and announced it would eliminate 600 jobs at a Canada plant.
- After the close of trading yesterday (Tuesday), Intel Corp. (INTC) reported first quarter profit dropped 12% due in part to spin-off costs. First-quarter net income declined to $1.44 billion, or 25 cents per share, from $1.64 billion, or 28 cents, the year prior, the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker announced in a statement.
- Washington Mutual Inc. (WM) reported a $1.14 billion loss yesterday (Tuesday) due to a growing number of customers that have fallen behind in their mortgage payments, Reuters reported. WaMu, as the Seattle-based lender is called, said the quarterly loss equaled $1.40 per share, and compared with profit of $784 million, or 86 cents, in the first quarter last year.