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Pfizer Profit Triples; Kerkorian Dumps Ford; U.S. Bancorp Profit Nearly Halved; Oil Back Below $72; Avigen’s Drug Trial Mishap; OceanFreight Sails to Strong Dividend; Copper’s Costly Tumble; McClatchy’s Slack Ad Sales
- Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE) third-quarter profit tripled to $2.3 billion, or 34 cents per share, up from $761 million, or 11 cents per share, a year ago. The increase was mainly due to a $2.1 billion after-tax charge that depressed last year's results. The company said its revenue dipped slightly from $11.99 billion a year ago to $11.97 billion.
- Tracinda Corp., billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s investment firm, yesterday (Tuesday) sold 7.3 million shares of Ford Motor Co. (F) and , The Associated Press reported. Kerkoriean sold the shares at an average price of $2.43 apiece and said his firm may sell its remaining 133.5 million shares, contingent upon market conditions.
- U.S. Bancorp (USB) said yesterday (Tuesday) that its third-quarter profit fell 47% in the three-month period ended Sept. 30. The Minneapolis-based bank reported net income of $576 million, or 32 cents per share, down from $1.10 billion, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier. U.S. Bancorp said credit-related losses more than doubled from $199 million a year ago, to $498 million.
- Oil prices yesterday (Tuesday) fell below $72 a barrel, as a stronger dollar and bleak demand forecasts overshadowed concerns that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will cut output next month. Light, sweet crude for November delivery fell $2.75 to $71.50 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier dropping as low as $71.
- Shares of biotech company Avigen Inc. (AVGN) plunged over 80% yesterday (Tuesday) after the Alameda, Calif.-based firm announced , The Associated Press reported. Avigen stock hit a new 52-week low of 53 cents before closing at 62 cents per share, down $2.68 for the day.
- Shares of drybulk carrier OceanFreight Inc. (OCNF) shot up over 15% yesterday (Tuesday), the day after the company announced a quarterly dividend of 77 cents for the third quarter to shareholders of record on October 31. OceanFreight shares gained $1.14 to close at $8.39.
- Copper futures traded below $2 per pound yesterday (Tuesday) for the first time since December 2005. “It's very significant to see copper come under $2,” Ron Goodis, a futures-trading director at Equidex Brokerage Group Inc. in Closter, New Jersey, told Bloomberg News. “People are wondering, ‘How did it fall so far so fast?’ It's easy. With this economy, it doesn't matter what the price is. People don't want copper.”
- The McClatchy Co. (MNI) yesterday (Tuesday) announced third quarter profit of $4.2 million, or five cents per share, compared to a loss of more than $1.3 billion for the same period the year prior. But the publisher of 30 daily newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee and Miami Herald, said that ad sales declined 19% in the quarter, The Wall Street Journal reported.