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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.
Initial Jobless Claims Decline; Nasdaq to Stop "Flash" Order Types Sept. 1; DirecTV Profit Falls But Sales, Subscribers Grow; Comcast Beats the Street; GM Debuts Plug-In Hybrid SUV; Murdoch to Charge for News; Former AIG Execs Pay $16.5 Million in SEC Settlement
- Initial job claims shrank to 550,000 for the week ended August 1, down 38,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised 588,000, the Labor Department said yesterday (Thursday). "We believe the lower claims figures are an important economic development and confirmation that the economy is turning the corner," Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a note to clients, according to The Associated Press. Despite the abating of initial claims, continuing claims rose 69,000 to 6.3 million following four consecutive weeks of declines.
- Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (Nasdaq: is considering a ban on flash order types, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Nasdaq called on other markets that offer the order types to take the same action. ) will stop offering so-called "flash" order types on September 1, it said yesterday (Thursday). Flash order types give some traders a look at orders before they are routed out to other exchanges. The Securities and Exchange Commission
- Satellite television provider The DirecTV Group Inc. (Nasdaq: DTV) saw its profit fall 11% to $407 million, or 40 cents per share for the second quarter ended June 30. That compares to a net income of $455 million, or 40 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue for DirecTV climbed to $5.22 billion as it saw its net subscriber numbers grow 74% to 224,000. The company blamed the declining net income on a lower operating profit and an increased net interest expense due to higher debt balances.
- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA), the No. 1 cable operator in the United States saw its television subscriber growth slow in the second quarter, but saw its profit rise and beat Wall Street estimates. The company reported a net income of $967 million, or 33 cents a share on revenue of $8.93 billion for the quarter ended June 30. That compares to a net income of $632 million, or 21 cents a share on revenue of $8.55 billion in the same quarter last year. The average analyst estimate for Comcast was 26 cents a share, according to Briefing.com. Subscribers buying more high-end services, such as high-definition digital video recorders, helped profit, the company said.
- General Motors Co. (OTC: MTLQQ) took the wraps off of its latest plug-in hybrid, a five-passenger crossover vehicle in its Buick line that will be launched in 2011. The vehicle, which has yet to be named, is expected to have a fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon on the highway and the first plug-in hybrid sport-utility vehicle commercially available. GM is expected to launch its first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, in the latter part of next year.
- News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch is vowing to charge for all of the online content of his newspapers and television news channels, the Financial Times reported. "We intend to charge for all our news websites," Murdoch said. "If we're successful, we'll be followed by all media," he added, predicting "significant revenues" from charging for differentiated news online. Among Murdoch's news offerings in the United States are Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch.com. The New York Times started charging for content at its website in 2005, but stopped two years later after it was determined that subscriber revenue was but a small fraction of its online sales, made up mostly of income from advertising.
- Former American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Maurice "Hank" Greenberg agreed to pay $15 million to settle a charge from the Securities and Exchange Commission that accused him and former Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith of being involved in "numerous improper accounting transactions that inflated AIG's reported financial results" between 2000 and 2005. Smith will pay $1.5 million as a part of the settlement. Neither of the former executives admitted or denied the SEC's allegations.