Investment News Briefs

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.

Madoff Gets 150 Years; Pipeline Operators to Combine; Jobs Returns to Work at Apple; GM, Toyota Cut Ties on Auto Plant; U.S. Moves Closer to Solar Energy; Oil Rises to More Than $71; China Stops Stockpiling Metal

  • A federal judge gave no leniency to convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff yesterday (Monday), sentencing him to 150 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin described Madoff's crime as "extraordinarily evil" and said that it was "not merely a bloodless crime that takes place on paper but one that takes a staggering human toll." As a part of his sentence, the 71-year-old Madoff was ordered to forfeit a total of $170.8 billion which represents the total proceeds of and property involved in certain of his crimes.
  • Pipeline operator Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) will buy Teppco Partners L.P. (NYSE: TPP) for $3.3 billion, forming the biggest U.S. energy partnership, Bloomberg News reported. Teppco shareholders will get 1.24 units of Enterprise for each one they own, making the deal worth 15% more than when the initial offer was made in March. Enterprise will see the benefits of the takeover starting next year and will net a minimum of $20 million in cost savings, according to Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Michael Creel.
  • Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs returned to work as promised following a near six-month leave of absence in which he received a liver transplant. Initially, Jobs will spend a few days a week at Apple's Cupertino, Calif. Headquarters and work the other days from home. Investors will be reassured that Jobs is back, Collins Steward Ashok Kumar told Reuters. "In many ways he's irreplaceable," Kumar said. "Having him back brings the halo back to the company." Apple shares closed at $141.97 yesterday (Monday), down 0.33%.
  • General Motors Corp. (OTC: GMGMQ) cut its ties to a northern California auto plant it operated with Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE ADR: TM) since 1983, Reuters reported. The move puts into question the fate of more than 4,000 jobs at the plant that was once seen as a ground-breaking experiment in bringing production efficiencies pioneered in Japan to a U.S. workforce. "While we respect this decision by GM, the economic and business environment surrounding Toyota is also extremely severe, and so this decision by GM makes the situation even more difficult for Toyota," Toyota said in a statement. The soon-to-be defunct Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla and Matrix are manufactured at the facility.
  • The U.S. Interior Department yesterday (Monday) designated roughly 670,000 acres of land as potential areas for solar energy production with the hope it will speed up the development of renewable energy resources on federal lands. "This environmentally sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. The 24 areas on the land could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity, the DOI said. President Barack Obama has allocated $150 billion to renewable energy investment over the next 10 years.
  • Oil for August delivery rose to $2.33 to settle at $71.49 a barrel after China said it would increase oil reserves and Nigerian militants partly shut down an offshore oil platform that belongs to Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR NYSE: RDS.A, RDS.B), The Associated Press reports. China plans on increasing its strategic crude oil reserves by 60%, providing the market with some long-term support according to Alaron Trading Corp. analyst Phil Flynn.