Emerging Market Funds Lose $48 Billion; Bank of America Sells China Bank Shares; Family Dollar Beats and Raises Forecasts; New CEO, Cost-Cutting at Orbitz; Russian Winter; Monsanto Reaps Profit; No Pain Means Gain for Sun; Oil Slides 12%
- More than $48 billion was withdrawn from emerging market funds in 2008, with the largest chucks of change pulled from funds tracking Asia, according to EPFR Global. An emerging markets bellwether, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, dropped 54% last year, its worst performance since it was created in 1987, Bloomberg reported.
- Bank of America Corp. (BAC) sold 5.62 billion of its China Construction Bank Corp. shares, raising $2.83 billion. Based on the Construction Bank’s IPO price, Bank of America realized a profit of about $1.13 billion, Reuters reported.
- Bargain retailer Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO) closed its fiscal fourth quarter with a 14% rise in profit and raised its annual forecast, Reuters reported. The compact expects to earn $1.63 to $1.81 a share, up from $1.58 to $1.78, in its fiscal year ending August 29. It also expects sales, same-store sales and total sales to rise as well.
- Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. (OWW), an online travel agency, announced a new president and chief executive, and that it would institute more measures to save an additional $20 to $25 million annually. Barney Harford will replace Steve Barhart as CEO, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- Russia yesterday (Wednesday) leaving more than a dozen countries struggling with dwindling energy supplies in the depths of winter, The Associated Press reported. "It is unacceptable that the EU gas supply security is taken hostage to negotiations between Russia and Ukraine," said European Union spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen.
- Monsanto Co. (MON), the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds, closed up more than 17% yesterday (Wednesday) after the company reported that first-quarter profit more than doubled. Revenue jumped 29% to $2.65 billion from $2.05 billion.
- India's Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. said yesterday (Wednesday) that it’s secured U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval to sell a generic tablet version of the painkiller Vicodin. The U.S. market for branded and generic versions of that drug is worth $540 million. Sun has also received approval for generic versions of cholesterol-fighting Lopid, for Aredia, which is used to treat high blood calcium, and for the anti-allergent drug Phenargen, in multiple strengths, Reuters reported.
- Light, sweet crude for February delivery yesterday (Wednesday) tumbled 12%, or $5.95, to settle at $42.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The drop was the mainly the result of a report from the Energy Information Administration said U.S. inventories of commercial crude inventories rose by 6.7 million barrels.