Freddie Mac CEO Quitting; HSBC Selling Shares, Cutting Jobs; Wendy's/ Arby's Loses $390 Million in 4Q; South Africa Unemployment Fell to 21.9% in 4Q; Venture Capital Investment Plummets; Dish Network Ups Profit, Loses Subscribers
- Six months after becoming Freddie Mac (FRE) Chief Executive Officer, David Moffett is stepping down from his post, citing a desire to return to the financial services industry, Reuters reported. "Whatever the reason Mr. Moffett has determined to leave, the abrupt departure with no replacement in hand is a negative indicator for the company," said Jim Vogel, a strategist at FTN Financial Capital Markets.
- Europe's largest lender, HSBC Holdings plc (ADR: HBC), said it plans to raise 12.5 billion pounds ($17.7 billion) by selling shares. The company also announced 6,100 job cuts and plans to close lending units in the United States. "We are playing the ball from where it lies," Chief Financial Officer Douglas Flint said on a call with reporters, Bloomberg reported.
- Wendy's Arby's Group Inc. (WEN), the third-largest fast food chain in the United States, posted a fourth-quarter loss of $393.2 million, or 84 cents a share, largely a result of impairment charges and falling sales at Arby's, Reuters reported. In September, Arby's owner, Triarc, bought Wendy's International Inc. for about $2 billion in September to form Wendy's/Arby's.
- According to a Bloomberg study, South Africa's unemployment rate for the fourth quarter clocked in at 21.9%, the highest of the 61 countries in the study. South Africa is the continent's largest economy, and it contracted for the first time in a decade, a result of plummeting manufacturing output, Bloomberg reported.
- Investment in start-up companies in the United States fell 71% in January from a year earlier, according to preliminary figures by Thomson Reuters. Venture capital funding dropped to $1.3 billion in January from $4.5 billion in January 2008. The number of companies that received funds was cut in half as well, falling to 203 from 466.
- Dish Network Corp. (DISH) said yesterday (Monday) that its fourth-quarter profit rose 24%, but that higher prices and fees cost the nation's second-largest satellite-TV provider more than 100,000 subscribers. Dish Network earned $217 million, or 48 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, up from $175 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier. Sales rose 1% to $2.92 billion from $2.89 billion.