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Around the business world

Staff and Wire Reports

Stocks drift in wake of recent plunge: NEW YORK Cautious investors left stocks fluctuating as Wall Street steadied itself from this weeks plunge, although data showing a spike in import prices stoked ongoing jitters about inflation. The market appeared to stabilize after several sessions of heavy declines propelled by worries that rising interest rates would hinder the global economy. However, the gains were limited by inflation concerns from an upswing in prices for imported goods as Americans increased demand for foreign-made products.Wall Streets rotten week may turn into a nervous summer for stocks: NEW YORK Wall Street stumbled into Friday after its three worst sessions of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 309 points for the week and the Nasdaq composite and the Standard & Poors 500 were down more than 2 percent apiece. With investors suffering from a bad case of the inflation jitters, they should fasten their seatbelts for the next big inflation data: Tuesdays producer price index and Wednesdays consumer price index, which could send stocks moving sharply.Trade deficit rises in April because of surging oil prices: WASHINGTON The trade deficit is rising again after two months of declines, pushed by oil prices and a flood of imports from China.Toronto exchange looking to U.S. for expansion: NEW YORK With consolidation sweeping global securities markets, Toronto Stock Exchange head Richard Nesbitt might look toward the U.S. as part of his expansion plans. He sees U.S. business as increasingly more important for the TSX, and envisions a cross-border acquisition or investment will help capture more business.Oil prices edge back up: Oil prices rose back near $71 a barrel, with the kidnapping of a senior Iraqi petroleum industry official serving as a reminder that the killing of al-Qaidas leader in Iraq did not mean the end of violence and instability in that country.Role of company boards is piece of puzzle as scandal over stock options widens: WASHINGTON As the scandal widens involving stock options that may have been manipulated to enrich top executives, the role of company boards is emerging as a key piece of the puzzle. With a single vote, the directors of Cyberonics Inc. are said to have approved options grants that netted the CEO $2.3 million. At other companies ensnared in the affair, executives may have acted without board approval to improperly grant themselves stock options. Already, 15 senior executives or directors including four CEOs, four finance chiefs and three general counsels have been fired or have stepped down at seven companies.Leaders elected at UAW convention will lead union during pivotal times: DETROIT Even with concessions to the auto companies, plant closures and retirees unhappy with increased health care payments, many local union leaders say UAW President Ron Gettelfinger should have no trouble winning a second four-year term running the union. And they say that hes the right person to lead the UAW as it heads into treacherous times that could threaten its existence.Northwest workers approve concessions: MINNEAPOLIS Baggage handlers and ramp workers at Northwest Airlines Corp. on Friday approved concessions aimed at helping the carrier emerge from bankruptcy protection.Alaska oil tax up in the air: FAIRBANKS State lawmakers have failed to agree on terms of an oil-tax bill, a key component to bringing a proposed 3,600-mile natural gas pipeline closer to reality. The source of contention between the House and Senate was a single percentage point in the base rate of the tax on profits and how fast that rate would escalate as oil prices rise.Cathay Pacific to buy Dragonair: HONG KONG Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said it will acquire the rest of Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd. and double its stake in Air China to 20 percent in deals aimed at giving Cathay a huge competitive boost in China the worlds fastest growing aviation market.Home Depot shareholders still seething over the companys annual meeting: NEW YORK Home Depot Inc. may have created a monster. Shareholders of the nations largest home improvement chain were met with a deaf ear at the May 25 shareholder meeting. No outside directors attended, no questions were allowed, no vote counts were given. The company apologized, but one shareholder activists phone has been ringing off the hook ever since.Vail, Colorado


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