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Bear Stearns Shareholders Approve JPMorgan Sale; Sears Expects More Pain After Loss; Weak Economy Emboldening Costco; Pacific Rim GDP Growth; Staff Reduction at GM;
- Shareholders of The Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. (BSC) approved the government-assistant $2.3 billion acquisition by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bloomberg reported. The all-stock deal is expected to close today (Friday), though shareholders who sought more than the buyout's price of $10-a-share may file suit.
- Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) – owner of Sears and K-Mart department stores – dropped 3.6% yesterday (Thursday) as the company posted a net loss of $56 million, or 43 cents a share, for the quarter ended May 3. "Given that we do not expect any significant near-term improvement in the overall retail environment, we believe that our sales and gross margin for the balance of fiscal 2008 will continue to be pressured," the company said in a statement.
- Meanwhile, the same economic slump that's crippling Sears has benefited warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), which posted a estimate-beating profit gain of 32% for its fiscal third quarter, Reuters reported. Net income was $295.1 million, or 67 cents a share, as shoppers took advantage of its members-only discounts on clothes, gasoline, food and big-ticket items such as televisions and furniture.
- Taiwan's economy grew an estimate-beating 6.06% for the first quarter, as exports grew more than expected and consumer spending continued its strength. Bloomberg reported that Taiwan joins Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia in having reported GDP growth that exceeded expectations.
- General Motors Corp. (GM) announced yesterday (Thursday) that 19,000 workers accepted voluntary buyouts, MarketWatch reported, as the struggling automaker looks to cut costs. The departing employees represent 24% of GM's Auto Workers Union-represented staff.