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.

Dow Posts 8th Straight Gain; Dell Still Hemorrhaging, But Beats Street; Q2 GDP Revision Unchanged; Weekly Initial Jobless Claims Shrink; GM Board Likes CEO; Microsoft Drops Game Console Prices; Bernanke’s Identity Crisis

  • Rising bank shares and news of The Boeing Co.’s (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner will see its first test flight this year helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average extend its surge to eight straight sessions. The Dow was up 37.11 points, or 0.39% to close at 9,580.63. It had good company from the other markets too: The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 2.86 points, or 0.28% to settle at 1,030.98, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.30 points, or 0.16% to close at 2,027.73.
  • Despite declining revenue, Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) was able to beat Wall Street earnings estimates of 23 cents a share in its quarter ended July 31. The PC maker reported a net income of $472 million, or 24 cents a share, down from $616 million, or 31 cents a share in the same period a year ago. Revenue dropped 22% to $12.8 billion, down from $16.8 billion in last year’s second quarter. Dell expects revenue for the second half to be stronger than the first half. While Dell and other PC makers eagerly anticipate the October 22 release of Microsoft Corp.’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 7, it is unlikely to get off to a strong start, Money Morning reported last month.
  • Leaner corporate headcounts last week led to fewer initial jobless claims First time claims fell by 10,000 to 570,000 for the week ended August 22, down from a revised 580,000 the week prior, the Labor Department said. “We’re definitely seeing firings slowing as firms are much leaner than they were earlier,” David Semmens, an economist at Standard Chartered PLC in New York told Bloomberg News. “Any good news in the labor market provides a floor for consumer sentiment.”
  • General Motors Co. (OTC: MTLQQ) Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson won’t have to worry about joining the vast ranks of the unemployed anytime soon, as he received a vote of confidence from his boss, Chairman Ed Whitacre. “The board gets along with Fritz, he has our unanimous support,” Whitacre, 67, said in an interview with Bloomberg News yesterday (Thursday). “We think he’s a good leader, we think he’s the right person for General Motors at this point in time.” GM is considering new possibilities outside of selling for its Germany-based Opel unit, and that shouldn’t be viewed as a failing by Henderson, Whitacre said.
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has cut the price of two of its Xbox 360 SKUs, dropping the price of its “Elite” model 25% to $299, and its “Pro” model by 16% to $249. Its entry-level “Arcade” model remains $199, but lacks a hard drive that is required for movie downloads as well as additional game content. The news comes a week after Sony Corp. (NYSE ADR: SNE) dropped the price of its top-of-the line PlayStation 3 console to $299.
  • It may seem impossible to believe, but U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his wife Anna were victims of an elaborate $2.1 million identity theft scheme, Newsweek reported. The Bernankes’ personal bank account was compromised after Anna’s purse was stolen a year ago from her chair at a Capitol Hill Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) coffee shop. In it was her Social Security card, checkbook and IDs. "Identity theft is a serious crime that affects millions of Americans each year," Bernanke said. "Our family was but one of 500 separate instances traced to one crime ring. I am grateful for the law enforcement officers who patiently and diligently work to solve and prevent these financial crimes." Court documents show that defendant George L. Reid confessed to depositing checks from the Bernankes’ account, The Associated Press reports.