eBay's Copy Cat Move; Mortgage Applications at New Low; FDIC Extends Help to IndyMac Customers; Oil's Wild Ride; Suntech Stock Shines; BJ's Stock Slump; HP Beats Expectations; TVA Hikes Rates 20%
- Influenced by online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), web-based auction site eBay Inc. (EBAY) announced it would be reducing listing fees for sellers who choose the set-price "Buy it now" option. It's a huge shift for eBay, but management hopes the changes will increase inventory and attract more buyers seeking the ease of "one-click" shopping, BusinessWeek reported.
- The Mortgage Bankers Association announced the level of mortgage applications is at its lowest point in eight years, as lending standards remain tight despite the drop in housing prices. The decline was due in part to the lack of new construction the nationwide association said, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported.
- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. yesterday (Wednesday) announced plans to modify loan terms for IndyMac Bancorp Inc. (OTC: IDMC) customers in an effort to keep people in their homes and avoid foreclosure, CNNMoney.com reported. The FDIC has targeted 25,000 customers who are most delinquent on their loans and will begin working with them to provide more affordable payments and reduce investor losses.
- U.S. crude oil for September delivery settled 45 cents higher at $114.98 a barrel yesterday (Wednesday) after a day of volatile trading in which prices swung from between $112.61 and $117.03. The decline in gas stockpiles pushed prices higher, while the surge in oil supplies pulled oil lower, according to Neal Dingmann, director of equity research at Dahlman Rose, CNNMoney.com reported.
- Shares of Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (ADR: STP) shot up over 12% yesterday (Wednesday) with a gain of $4.62 to close at $41.75. and raised its guidance for the rest of the year, Forbes reported.
- Warehouse retailer BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. (BJ) yesterday (Wednesday) reported fiscal second-quarter earnings increased to $36.5 million, or 61 cents a share, from $36.3 million, or 55 cents a share, for the same period the year prior. Earnings per share included a 5-cent boost from non-sales related cost cuts, Bloomberg News reported, and shares dropped almost $3 to close at $37.71.
- Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) reported fiscal third-quarter 14% jump in profit that thrashed Wall Street expectations. HP said it earned $2.03 billion, or 80 cents per share, in the latest period, up from $1.78 billion, or 66 cents per share, a year earlier. .
- The Tennessee Valley Authority yesterday (Wednesday) approved an electric rate increase of 20% — the hike largest in 34 years The Associated Press reported. The TVA cited sky-high fuel costs and a three-year drought that has sharply reduced its ability to generate cheap hydroelectric power. Most of the rate hike is a temporary fuel adjustment charge that varies quarterly, though TVA officials predicted the charges would continue to grow through smaller increases in the future.