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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.
Microsoft's Bing Off to Strong Start; U.S. Natural Gas Reserves Higher Than Once Thought; Carnival Cruise Lines Beats the Street; Treasuries Fall Again; GE Capital May Come Under Fed Scrutiny; Mexico's Tourism Plummets on Swine Flu Scare; Discover Profits Down
- Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Bing search engine has gained market share from rivals Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) just weeks after its launch. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant grabbed 12.1% of total U.S. Internet searches for the workweek of June 8-12, according to market research firm comScore, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR). That was up from the previous week's share of 11.5% and May's share of 8.2%. While the start is good for Bing, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer was cautiously optimistic. "We have had some very good initial response," Ballmer said. "I don't want to over-set expectations. We are going to have to be tenacious and keep up the pace of innovation over a long period of time." comScore did not offer the share numbers for Google or Yahoo in the same periods, but said it would have a when the final tallies are in.
- , according to a report released yesterday (Thursday) from the Potential Gas Committee. The country possesses a resource base of 1,836 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and a total available future supply of 2,074 Tcf. Some, such as Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, are pushing hard for natural gas as an alternative fuel for transportation. " ," Pickens told The Associated Press. "On the same day this report is going out, diesel prices are again on the rise, squeezing the trucking industry. Now more than ever we need to take action to enact energy reform that will immediately reduce oil imports."
- Shares of Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) closed up more than 7% yesterday (Thursday) following news that the cruise line operator beat Wall Street earnings estimates and discounting is starting to abate. Carnival's net income fell 32% to $264 million, or 33 cents per share for the quarter ended May 31. That compares to a net income of $390 million, or 50 cents per share. Average analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg News had Carnival earning 29 cents per share. Executives called the rise of fares on some itineraries since the end of March "encouraging."
- Prices of Treasury bonds fell for a second day as the U.S. government said note sales will increase to a record $104 billion next week and other reports showed the deepest recession since the Great Depression may be coming to an end. Yields on ten-year notes, which move in opposition to prices, touched the highest in almost a week amid concern President Barack Obama's record borrowing will overwhelm demand, Bloombergreported. The yield gap between two- and 10-year notes widened to 2.56%, the most in over a week. "There's so much focus on the borrowing amounts Treasury will face over the next couple of years," said Carl Riccadonna, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (NYSE: DB) in New York. Deutsche is one of 17 primary dealers that trade with the Federal Reserve. "There's evidence that the economy may be turning the corner. That's pushing yields up."
- General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) may have to consider the government's new stance on regulatory reform when it restructures its giant GE Capital finance unit. The possibility that the Federal Reserve might gain regulatory authority over the unit arose when President Barack Obama this week unveiled his proposal for the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. financial regulations since the 1930s. He proposed the central bank oversee not just banks but "other large firms that pose a risk to the entire economy in the event of failure." GE investors said the label could apply to the U.S. conglomerate's finance business, a major commercial lender. "I could definitely see that potentially becoming an issue if companies like GE and their finance arms came under more scrutiny," said Perry Adams, vice president and senior portfolio manager at Huntington Private Financial Group in Traverse City, Michigan, told Reuters.
- Tourism in Mexico took a severe hit from the swine flu scare as Cancun, Cozumel, Los Cabos and other destinations reported fewer foreign tourists since the outbreak that began in April killed 108 people, the Mexican Health Ministry said. Cancun's hotel occupancy plunged as low as 20% in May, when 13 inns with 5,200 rooms shut down, Bloombergreported. It rebounded to 45% in the first week of June and is forecast to reach 60% next month, said Rodrigo de la Pena, president of the Cancun Hotel Association. That's still down from 80% last July. "We're recovering quicker than we thought," de la Pena said. "The hotels have almost all their workforce back and tourists are arriving." To fend off unemployment, the government rolled out a $91 million campaign urging Mexicans to vacation at home and encouraging hotels and restaurants to cut prices.
- Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS), the fourth-largest U.S. credit card network, reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss as it cut costs and bad loans weren't as bad as forecast, sending its shares up more than 4%. The company's expenses fell 10% after it cut 500 jobs and trimmed marketing costs. Credit card default rates also remained well below levels of its bigger rivals. The Riverwoods, Ill.-based company posted a net income of $226 million, or 43 cents per share for the quarter ended May 31. That compares to a net income of $234 million, or 48 cents per share in the same period last year.