Oil Over $143; GM Falls to 54-year Low; Starbucks Closes 600 Stores; Nikkei Post 10th Straight Loss; United Health Lands in the Emergency Ward; 900 American Flight Attendants on Standby; Blockbuster Abandons Bid; Microsoft at it Again;
- Crude futures closed yesterday (Wednesday) at a record $143.57 a barrel in New York after the U.S. Department of Energy announced a 2 million barrel decline in supply last week. Earlier, crude had traded for as high as $143.91 on Globex, MarketWatch reported.
- Shares of General Motors Corp. (GM) (Wednesday), as investors shrugged off better-than-expected June sales and analysts raised concerns about the company's cash needs, The Associated Press reported. In afternoon trading, GM shares fell as low as $9.98, their lowest level since hitting $10.36 a share on Sept. 21, 1954.
- Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) has announced plans to close 600 underperforming U.S. stores and cut up to 12,000 full- and part-time positions, Reuters reported. The company is bracing for its first full-year profit decline since 2000, as it struggles with a deterioration in consumer spending and increased competition.
- The Nikkei 225 average fell 1.3% yesterday (Wednesday) to hit its longest losing streak in more than 40 years, Reuters reported. The benchmark Nikkei logged its 10th straight negative day, a period in which it has slid about 8%, its longest losing streak since February-March 1965.
- UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) will , The Associated Press reported. Chief Executive Stephen J. Hemsley said the company is shifting management positions to better focus on regional coverage.
- American Airlines Inc., the air carrier subsidiary of AMR Corp. (AMR), yesterday (Wednesday) warned 900 flight attendants with the least seniority that they are subject to furlough Aug. 31. The airline said the notice was not a layoff notice, but that , DowJones reported.
- Circuit City Stores Inc. (CC) shares plunged 9% yesterday (Wednesday) after Blockbuster Inc. (BBI) announced it would no longer be pursuing its takeover offer after a round of due diligence with Circuit City's books, MarketWatch reported. Shares closed at $2.32 a share yesterday; well under Blockbuster's initial $6 – $8 per share bid.
- The Wall Street Journal yesterday (Wednesday) reported that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was seeking additional media partners for a bid for Yahoo! Inc.'s (YHOO) search engine business. Citing sources close to the talks, the Journal said discussions with Time Warner Inc. (TWX) and News Corp. (NWS), among others, were in early stages and unlikely to result in a deal with Yahoo, Reuters reported.