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Exxon Mobil's Profit Geyser; General Motors Cleans Up Its Act; Home Depot Boards Up 15 Stores; New $60 Billion City in U.A.E. Planned; Wheat Hits Five-Month Low; Brit Firm's Silicone Valley Buy; Burger King's "Whopper" Quarter; PharmaNet Plunges on Canceled Contracts
- Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) said yesterday (Thursday) that record crude prices helped its first-quarter profit climb 17% to $10.9 billion – the second-biggest U.S. quarterly corporate profit ever, . The company said earnings for the first three months of the year came to $2.03 per share, up from $9.3 billion, or $1.62 per share, a year ago.
- General Motors Corp. (GMC) has taken an undisclosed stake in Mascoma Corp., a renewable energy company that is working to develop ethanol from wood chips, waste paper sludge and switch grass, . GM said the new collaboration would further develop non-grain forms of ethanol for more environmentally friendly vehicles.
- The Home Depot Inc. (HD) announced yesterday (Thursday) that it will shut down 15 of its core retail stores in a move that will affect 1,300 employees. The announcement comes 7 1/2 months after its Chief Executive Officer said there were no plans to close any core retail stores. The stores to be closed consist of three in Wisconsin, two in Ohio, two in New Jersey, two in Indiana and one each in Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York and Vermont, .
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- Ajman, one of the United Arab Emirates, announced that it has partnered with Solidere International to develop a $60 billion new coastal city to be named Al-Zorah, Bloomberg reported. Twelve kilometers of coastline will be set aside for development of officers, shops, schools and hotels.
- Wheat hit a five-month low yesterday, as rising supplies and a resurgent greenback have pushed the soft commodity's July delivery futures to $7.7835 a bushel, Bloomberg reported. Since hitting a record $13.495 on Feb. 27, wheat prices have fallen 42%.
- Shares of NetManage Inc. (NETM) surged over 67% yesterday (Thursday) after London-based Micro Focus International PLC announced it would buy the California-based software firm for $73.3 million, or $7.20 per share, Reuters reported. NetManage stock gained $2.79 per share to close at $6.94.
- Miami-based Burger King Holdings Inc. (BKC) announced first quarter earnings increased 21%. The fast food burger restaurant said it earned $41 million, or 30 cents per share, an increase from $34 million, or 25 cents per share for the same period last year. Revenue increased to $594 million from $539 million for the same period in the prior year.
- PharmaNet Development Group Inc. (PDGI) shares plunged yesterday (Thursday) after the company announced a first quarter loss of $10.1 million, or 53 cents per share, due to canceled contracts. The global drug firm also lowered its outlook for full-year 2008. The stock dropped $6.76, a decline of 28%, to close at $17.10.