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Inflation Still Threatens Japan; Time-Out for Northrop and Boeing; Citi Takes a Hit on Fannie and Freddie; Chinese Inflation Subsides; ImClone's Secret Admirer; Bank of America Settles; Management Shake-Up at Sanofi-Aventis; Shell Evacuates in Face of Hurricane Ike
- Japan's wholesale inflation remained near a 27-year high in August, the government said yesterday (Wednesday), as the index for domestic corporate goods prices rose 7.2% from a year ago. The index measured a revised 7.3% increase in July.
- The Defense Department has deferred its decision on a $35 billion tanker contract to the next administration, further delaying the heated competition between The Boeing Co. (BA) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC). Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday (Wednesday) that he decided to cancel the current round of bidding , The Associated Press reported.
- Citigroup Inc. (C) has taken a $450 million pretax hit so far this quarter due to its exposure to the troubled mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE), the company said in a filing with the Security Exchange Commission. Citigroup said its total exposure to preferred shares of Fannie and Freddie is now about $50 million, down from about $1 billion on June 30, 2008.
- Consumer price inflation in China fell for the fourth consecutive month in August, Beijing said yesterday (Wednesday). Consumer inflation was 4.9% last month, down from 6.3% in July, However, factory price inflation edged up to 10.1% in August.
- ImClone Systems Inc. (IMCL) received a $6.1 billion takeover offer yesterday (Wednesday), ImClone Chairman Carl Icahn announced. He refused to disclose the interested party, saying only that a "large pharmaceutical company" outbid Bristol Myers Squibb Co.'s (BMY) unsolicited offer, Bloomberg News reported.
- Bank of America Corp. (BAC) yesterday (Wednesday) announced it would buy back $4.5 billion of illiquid auction-rate securities in order to settle an investigation by Massachusetts' state regulators. The repurchase will affect approximately 5,500 Bank of America retail customers nationwide, Reuters reported.
- France's Sanofi-Aventis SA (ADR: SNY) announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it had appointed Chris Viehbacher, former head of GlaxoSmithKline PLC's (ADR: GSK) North American drugs business, to replace Chief Executive Officer Gérard Le Fur as of Dec. 1. , the International Herald Tribune reported.
- Royal Dutch Shell PLC (ADR: RDS.A, RDS.B) yesterday (Wednesday) announced it was evacuating personnel from its Gulf of Mexico oil platforms as Hurricane Ike makes its way towards the Texas coast. Ike is expected to hit land early Saturday after passing through the Gulf of Mexico, home to most U.S. oil refineries, the AFP reported.