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Around the business world from Vail

Daily Staff Report

Star banker Quattrone plans to resume career after reaching deal with feds: NEW YORK – Former star banker Frank Quattrone reached a deal with the government that allows his criminal case to be dismissed without a third trial. The pact closes a three-year effort to prosecute a man who earned $100 million in a single year as he commanded his investment firm’s technology portfolio at the height of dot-com mania.Toll Brothers profit slumps as housing woes hit home: PHILADELPHIA – Luxury home builder Toll Brothers Inc. said its third-quarter profits fell by 19 percent as the housing-market malaise weighed on sales and caused the company to abandon some building locations. The company also cut its earnings estimate for the full year, signaling it doesn’t expect the housing market to stabilize soon.Disgruntled businesses turn to Calif. courts to deter illegal immigration: LOS ANGELES – Frustrated by lax immigration enforcement at work sites, national anti-illegal immigration groups and disgruntled businesses have turned to California’s courts. Using unfair competition laws, companies are claiming that competitors hiring undocumented workers – who often accept lower wages and don’t demand pensions or workers’ compensation – have an illegal advantage. Anti-illegal immigration groups believe other states will follow and create a wave of litigation that could become a market deterrent where government enforcement fails.Stock fraud investigators in for a long, tough road: WASHINGTON – This summer, federal prosecutors and regulators fired two big opening volleys in their crackdown against suspiciously-timed grants of stock options to top executives, bringing criminal and civil charges against former officials of two technology companies, one on each coast. Then, out of public view, it was back to the long investigative slog for Justice Department prosecutors and enforcement attorneys at the Securities and Exchange Commission – poring over documents, interviewing witnesses. It could be a very long haul before the cases are resolved.IRS to use collection agencies to get scofflaws to pay up: WASHINGTON – There’s nothing “internal” about a soon-to-launch IRS program that empowers private debt collection agencies to go after delinquent taxpayers on behalf of the federal government. Critics of the plan say the IRS is hiding it from the public because of taxpayer privacy issues and the potential for government overpayment.Kansas company to build massive electric pllant: EMPORIA, Kan. – Westar Energy Inc. officials announced plans to build a new 600 megawatt electric generating plant near Emporia, aimed at meeting demands during peak periods.Car buyers thinking fuel economy first: NEW YORK – Fuel economy has supplanted quality and price as the top consideration for car buyers, according to a poll taken for Consumer Reports magazine.Stocks mixed as bullish AMD news competes with geopolitical fears: NEW YORK – Stocks were mixed as bullish comments from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. competed with fresh political worries over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. With light volume, Wall Street wasn’t able to make a robust advance as geopolitical concerns kept investors at bay. By Business Writer Joe Bel Bruno.Oil prices hold steady: NEW YORK – Oil prices hold steady after Iran’s top nuclear negotiator says Tehran was ready for “serious negotiations” over its disputed nuclear program but left open the question of whether it would suspend uranium enrichment.Microsoft considering discounts for consumers: REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft Corp. is considering offering discounts later this year to entice consumers to upgrade their operating systems to Windows Vista, which isn’t due to hit store shelves until January.Despite mushrooming losses, Wal-Mart’s sticking in Japan: TOKYO – Wal-Mart’s Japanese subsidiary said first-half losses grew fivefold, but the unit’s chief executive reaffirmed his commitment to Japan even as the U.S. retailer abandons the German and South Korean markets.German economy headed south: BERLIN – German investor confidence has plummeted again this month, pointing to a “considerable economic downturn” in the near future, a leading institute says.Southeast Asia moving toward European Union-type community: SEOUL – Southeast Asian trade ministers seeking to blunt growing competition from China and India agreed to an accelerated timetable to turn their region into an EU-style economic community by 2015.World’s largest hotell operator reports huge profits: LONDON – InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, the world’s largest hotel operator by number of rooms, said second-quarter profit more than doubled after the company boosted the prices of its rooms, added new hotels and sold underperforming assets.Some banks eliminating ATM fees to gain competitive advantage: MINNEAPOLIS – Millions of Americans pay ATM fees, to the tune of an estimated $4.2 billion this year. But some consumers are getting a break. U.S. Bank recently doubled the number of ATMs its more than 8 million checking account customers can use for free, and a number of smaller banks are going in the same direction.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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