Global Investing Roundups

Gas Fuels Factory Orders; Borders Cuts Jobs to Cut Costs; Starbucks Serves Up Free Wi-Fi; Kenya Inflation Soars 32%; Chevron to Invest $5 Billion in Africa; Staples Raises Bid for Corporate Express; Lehman Looking for Cash Infusion; Oil Slides

  • U.S. factory orders increased 1.1% in April, an unexpected gain that was boosted by the high cost of gas and other petroleum products, the Commerce Department announced yesterday (Tuesday). Economists had expected a smaller gain of just 0.1% after an upwardly revised 1.5% gain in March, MarketWatch reported.
  • Borders Group Inc. (BGP) announced yesterday (Tuesday) it would reduce 20% of its corporate positions in an ongoing effort to cut costs. The No. 2 U.S. bookseller will eliminate 156 positions at its Ann Arbor, Mich. Headquarters and 118 corporate positions at other locations, Reuters reported. The reductions represent less than 1% of Borders total staff.
  • Staples Inc. (SPLS) yesterday (Tuesday) raised its hostile bid for Dutch office supplies distributor Corporate Express NV (ADR: CXP) to $2.6 billion. Rather than accepting two previous overtures from Staples, Corporate Express last month struck a surprise deal to buy a French competitor, Lyreco SAS, which would create an international competitor to Staples, the Associated Press reported. Lyreco may be entitled to a $46.8 million break-up fee if Corporate Express shareholders pursue the Staples deal.
  • Oil prices fell sharply yesterday (Tuesday), at times slipping more than $3 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The drop came after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke indicated that more interest rate cuts are unlikely. His comments sent the dollar higher and raised questions about oil's ability to reach new highs in the short term.