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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.
Markets Fall On Profit-Taking; Southwest Ups Bid For Frontier; GM to Sell Cars on eBay; Dish Subscribers Grow, Profit Falls; U.S. Consumer Bankruptcies on the Rise; Nobel Nod; McDonald's Same-Store Sales Up 4.3% in July; BofA Pays $55 Million in Countrywide Employee Settlement
- Investors yesterday (Monday) cashed in on profits from Friday's market rally, which followed better-than-expected unemployment news. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.33% to 1,007.10, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped to 9,337.95, down 0.34%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 1,992.24, a decline of 0.40%.
- Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) offered more than $170 million for bankrupt Fontier Airlines Holdings (OTC: FRNTQ). That's up more than 50% from its first offer of $113.6 million. The move is intended to head off a bidding war with rival Republic Airways Holdings (Nasdaq: RJET). The winning bidder will get a stronger foothold in the Rocky Mountain region.
- General Motors Co. (OTC: MTLQQ) is partnering with eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) to sell cars and trucks on a new portal site starting today (Tuesday). The joint venture will involve roughly 225 California dealerships and will run through September 8. If the program is successful, it could expand nationally as soon as next month, The New York Times reported.
- Shares of Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH) rose more than 4% yesterday (Monday) to close at $19.30, as the satellite television provider reported its first increase in subscribers in more than a year, adding 26,000 new customers. Still, high expenses from increased marketing and patent dispute litigation with TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) caused Dish's profit to fall to $63.4 million, or 14 cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30. That compares to a net income of $335.9 million, or 73 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue was flat at $2.9 billion.
- Bankruptcies among U.S. consumers grew by more than 126,000 in July, representing a 34% increase over July 2008, Bloomberg News reported, citing the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). "Rising unemployment on top of high pre-existing debt burdens is a formula for higher bankruptcies through the end of this year," ABI Executive Director Samuel Gerdano said. The increase came after bankruptcies in the first six months of 2009 grew 36.5%.
- U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke deserves another term based on his success in battling the financial crisis, Nobel Prize winner and Princeton University economist Paul Krugman told Bloomberg News in an interview. "He turned the Fed into the financial intermediary of last resort," Krugman said. "When the banking system failed to deliver capital where it was needed, he put the Fed into the markets." In 2000, Krugman was recruited by Bernanke to join Princeton. Bernanke's term ends on January 31 2010.
- Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) reported its same-store sales for July rose 4.3%. Sales in the United States grew 2.6%, Europe sales were up 7.2%, and sales in the Asia/Pacific, Middle Eastern and African markets rose 2.1%. The company attributed the growth to a strong reception of its McCafe espresso-based coffees, a tiered-menu approach and longer operating hours. "With July's improved trends, we are encouraged by (McDonald's) ability to gain or maintain share in a still challenging environment," Oppenheimer analyst Matthew DiFrisco said in a note to clients.
- Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) will pay $55 million to employees of its Countrywide Financial Corp. to settle a class-action lawsuit in which the employees accused Countrywide of misleading them about its financial health and causing the value of their retirement plan to drop, Bloomberg News reported. Lawyers for the employees called the settlement "fair, reasonable and adequate." BofA acquired Countrywide in January 2008.