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U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Soar; Japan's Bankruptcy Jitters; Boeing Backs Down in Face of Strike; Quicksilver's Ski Sale; Gustav Pushes Crude Higher; TiVo Swings to Profit; PetroChina Hurt by Subsidies; BP Ending Russian Venture
- In yet another indication of the weak economy, U.S. bankruptcy filings spiked in the second quarter, up 29% for the 12-month period ended June 30. Business filings ratcheted up more than 41% to 33,822 from 23,889 the year before. Non-business filings totaled 934,009, up 28% from the same period in the prior year, CNNMoney.com reported.
- Tokyo-based real estate developer Sohken Homes Co. Ltd. filed for bankruptcy, sparking concern over a weakening Japanese economy. "If consumers were confident their salaries would remain secure, they'd buy condos and homes even with 30-year loans," Yoshihiro Ito, senior strategist at Okasan Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, told Bloomberg News. "With rising prices and stagnant income growth, that isn't the case now."
- Aerospace firm The Boeing Co. (BA) withdrew plans to begin phasing out its traditional employer-sponsored pension plan after threats of a strike from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Boeing had hoped to replace the costly plan with a 401(k)-type plan that was more dependent on employee contributions, MarketWatch reported.
- Shares of sports apparel maker Quicksilver Inc. (ZQK) jumped over 15% yesterday (Wednesday) after a $147.7 million (100 million euro) bid for its winter sports apparel and equipment unit from Chartreuse & Mont Blanc, which is majority owned by Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd. The California-based retailer put the unit up for sale after a lackluster ski season and weak domestic economy dragged on sales, Reuters reported. The sale will allow Quicksilver to refocus on its marquee brand product lines.
- Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose $1.88 to settle at $118.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday (Wednesday), after earlier spiking as high as $119.63. Crude has jumped more than $3 this week as Hurricane Gustav continues to slowly spiral towards the Gulf Coast.
- TiVo Inc. (TIVO) posted a quarterly profit for only the third time in its 11-year history yesterday (Wednesday), reporting $2.9 million in net income, or 3 cents per share, compared with a loss of $17.7 million, or 18 cents a share, over the same period last year. The company said it expects TiVo also said it expects a net loss in the range of $7 million to $9 million for the current quarter, MarketWatch reported.
- PetroChina Co. Ltd. (ADR: PTR) posted a 38% drop in quarterly earnings after refining losses and windfall taxes dissolved gains from soaring crude prices. The company will likely continue to find itself encumbered by state-capped fuel prices, even after Beijing raised gasoline and diesel prices by 18% in June, Reuters reported.
- BP PLC (BP) is conducting secret, high-level negotiations with the billionaires who co-own its troubled Russian venture TNK-BP and an outline deal to settle their dispute may come in weeks, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Lamar McKay, a top BP official brought in to end the saga at TNK-BP, held a five-hour meeting in London the week before last with Mikhail Fridman – the billionaire oligarch who calls the shots on the Russian side of the company, Reuters reported.