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With our investment news briefs, Money Morning provides investors with a quick overview of the most important investing news stories from all around the world.
Time Warner Spinning Off AOL; Costco Misses Earnings; Posco Agrees to 33% Iron Ore Price Cut; Two Auto Parts Makers File Bankruptcy; Microsoft Launches New Search Engine; Geithner Will Prod China to Increase Consumption; P&G Forecast Far Short Of Street Estimates; Lexus Drops LPGA Tour Event
- Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) plans to spin off its AOL Internet unit by the end of the year, making it its own publicly traded company, Bloomberg reported. The decision reverses the historic $124 billion merger in 2001 that had hurt Time Warner more than it helped.
- Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) just missed Wall Street expectations for the quarter ended May 10, as shoppers cut spending and opted for cheaper retailers. Profits at the club retailer fell to $209.6 million, or 48 cents a share, compared to $295.1 million, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier, Reuters reported.
- Asia's third-largest steel mill, Posco (NYSE ADR: PKX) agreed to a 33% cut in iron ore prices with the world's second-biggest supplier, Rio Tinto Group PLC (NYSE ADR: RTP). The deal puts pressure on Chinese steelmakers who are demanding as much as a 50% discount, Bloomberg reported.
- Auto parts makers Visteon Corp. (OTC: VSTN) and Metaldyne Corp. have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for their U.S. operations. In its filing, Visteon listed total assets of $4.58 billion. Private equity firm Carlyle Group, Ltd. and RHJI International SA, which owns a 60% stake in Metaldyne's parent company, separately submitted letters of intent to purchase different portions of Metaldyne's assets, Reuters reported.
- Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) will spend between $80 to $100 million to promote its new search engine, rechristened "Bing", in its continuing battle to counter Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOG) dominance in the Web search and related advertising business, Reuters reported, citing an article in Advertising Age.The world's largest software company has been testing the search engine internally under the name Kumo for several months, plans to launch the new service over the next few days.
- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to China next week to encourage it to boost domestic demand and maintain flexible markets, a U.S. Treasury spokesman told Bloomberg. The spokesman said the discussions will include the importance of open trade and the need for both the U.S. and China to move toward balanced long-term growth strategies, including a flexible currency policy. China is the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, with about $768 billion in Treasury securities.
- Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), the maker of Gillette razors and Tide laundry detergent, said its fiscal 2010 earnings will fall far short of Wall Street estimates, as it invests in international markets and new products, Reutersreported. But the consumer giant's shares fell only slightly as analysts said the investments were needed for future growth. The company's brands have lost market share as recession-hit consumers trade down to cheaper or private-label brands.
- Lexus won't renew its sponsorship of the Lexus Cup, a LPGA Tour women's team golf event in 2009, a senior official told Bloomberg. The Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) unit is struggling with the worst slump in its 20-year history as consumers pull back on auto purchases during the worst recession in decades. The Ryder Cup-style tournament, contested by teams from Asia against the rest of the world, has been an annual fixture on the tour since 2005. Lexus may back the tournament in 2010 if its business picks up, said Vince S. Socco, vice president of marketing.