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Southwest Feels the Love; Minimum Wage Bump; Qualcomm and Nokia Accord; Fertilizer Firm Reaps Rewards; Unemployment Claims Mount; Ford's Worst Quarter in History; Dow Unable to Recoup Losses; Gaming Taking Off in Macau
- Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) yesterday (Thursday) announced that second-quarter revenue increased 15% due to the advance purchase of fuel contracts, Bloomberg News reported. Second quarter earnings increased to $321 million or 44 cents per share for the Dallas-based air carrier. Even without the boost from fuel hedging, Southwest would have earned $121 million or 16 cents per share, beating analyst expectations.
- The national minimum wage in the United States increased yesterday (Thursday) by 70 cents, bringing the federally mandated hourly rate to $6.55. This is the second increase in a three-stage plan to eventually boost the rate to $7.25 per hour under the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, CNNMoney reported.
- Mobile phone manufacturers Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) and Nokia Corp. (ADR: NOK) struck a deal to end a long-running patent dispute over wireless technology causing both stocks to gain in trading yesterday (Thursday). Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm extended a 15-year license to Nokia to utilize its patents for use in Nokia mobile devices and wireless-networking equipment, MarketWatch reported.
- Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT) announced yesterday (Thursday) that second-quarter profits jumped threefold to $905.1 million, or $2.82 a share, from $285.7 million, or 88 cents a share for the same period the year prior. The fertilizer company attributed the gains to strong global demand for potash, nitrogen and phosphate products, MarketWatch reported.
- The number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits soared over 400,000 last week as companies trimmed their work forces to cope with a slowing economy. The Labor Department reported yesterday (Thursday) that the number of new applications filed for these benefits rose by a seasonally adjusted 34,000 to 406,000 for the week ending July 19.
- Ford Motor Co. (F) posted the worst quarterly performance in its history yesterday (Thursday), with a second-quarter loss of $8.67 billion. The net loss included $8.03 billion worth of write-offs because the sharp decline in U.S. truck and SUV sales has reduced the value of Ford's North American truck plants and Ford Motor Credit Co.'s lease portfolio.
- The Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) said yesterday (Thursday) that despite record sales and two double-digit price increases, second-quarter profit fell 27%, due to higher costs for energy and raw materials. The world's second-largest chemical company said its net income for the three-month period ended June 30 was $762 million, or 81 cents per share, compared with $1.04 billion, or $1.07 per share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 23% to a company record $16.38 billion, MarketWatch reported.
- Macau's casino revenues jumped 48% in the second quarter, as its 30 casinos brought in $3.6 billion in the three months ended in June, compared with $2.4 billion last year. Higher VIP baccarat revenues, up more than 52% to $2.5 billion compared with a year ago, were the biggest factor, the Associated Press reported.