What’s the Story?

by CC August 28, 2012 8:58 am • Commentary


U.S. single-family home prices gained for the fifth month in a row in June, a fresh sign of improvement in the housing market, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping economists’ forecasts for 0.5 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices were even stronger, up 2.3 percent.


Spain’s recession worsened in the second quarter as the government’s austerity push to reduce the euro area’s third-biggest budget deficit and a slump in consumer spending offset growth in exports.

Gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, when it declined 0.3 percent, the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said today. That’s in line with an estimate published July 30. Separately, Spain’s borrowing costs fell to the lowest in three months at an auction today after the nation’s bonds rallied this month on optimism the European Central Bank will agree on a plan to help peripheral nations.


Best Buy granted Richard Schulze, its estranged founder, access to its books on Monday after several weeks of acrimony, putting the onus on him to firm up a possible takeover bid for the struggling electronics retailer.

Mr Schulze, who owns 20 per cent of the company, launched an effort to buy it for nearly $9bn this month, but said he needed access to more financial information to draw up a full offer and secure private equity investment partners.

Monday’s agreement gives him 60 days to bring forward “a fully financed definitive proposal” and, if it is rejected by the board, allows him to present a second proposal from next January.

Best Buy has been cool on Mr Schulze’s initiative and focused instead on drawing up a new business plan to be led by Hubert Joly, its incoming chief executive who was appointed last week.

The company said on Monday: “There is no guarantee that Mr Schulze will be successful in arranging a potential offer, or that such an offer would be accepted by the board of directors.”


Movado Group Inc.’s (MOV) fiscal second quarter profit jumped a better-than-expected 83% as the luxury watchmaker strengthened margins and increased sales. Shares were up 13% to $34 premarket as the company also raised its full-year outlook.

Depomed Inc. (DEPO) said it has licensed the rights to its Acuform gastric retentive drug delivery technology to Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., providing the specialty pharmaceutical company with a new and growing royalty stream. Shares jumped 8.6% to $5.55 premarket.

Molycorp Inc. (MCP) said its California facility had begun to produce heavy rare-earth concentrate from freshly mined ore. Those rare earths–used in such technologies as wind turbines and hybrid electric vehicles–will then be processed in Molycorp’s production facilities. With the launch of the heavy rare earth concentrate facilities on schedule, Chief Executive Mark Smith said Molycorp remains on track to achieve full Phase 1 production rates at the California site in the fourth-quarter. Shares rose 5.2% to $10.01 premarket.

Brown Shoe Co. (BWS) narrowed its fiscal second-quarter loss, helped by lower overhead expenses. The footwear retailer also raised the low end of its earnings target for the year. Shares were up 5.2% to $16.20 premarket.

Cyberonics Inc.’s (CYBX) fiscal first-quarter earnings jumped 17% as the epilepsy-treatment company saw strong domestic and international revenue, while margins also widened. Shares were up 8.4% to $49.15 premarket.

PVH Corp.’s (PVH) fiscal second-quarter earnings rose 31% as the apparel maker posted stronger margins and lower taxes. Shares were up 5.7% at $93.50 premarket as adjusted earnings topped expectations.

Perfect World Co.’s (PWRD) second-quarter profit slumped 50%, as the Chinese online-game developer was squeezed by higher expenses and softer revenue. Shares sank 6.5% to $9.84 premarket, as the company forecast weak current-quarter revenue.

Citigroup Inc. (C) agreed to pay almost $25 million to a group of investors who said they were misled about the quality of mortgage-backed securities that suffered losses after the housing market collapsed, according to a proposed settlement filed in federal court Monday.

Denny’s Corp. (DENN) has inked a deal with Musiet Group to open 10 new restaurants in Chile, the casual-dining company’s first major expansion into South America.

Forest Laboratories Inc. (FRX) said its board has adopted a shareholder-rights plan after activist shareholder Carl Icahn recently increased his ownership stake in the company.

General Motors Co. (GM) said it plans to temporarily halt production of its Chevrolet Volt electric car for roughly a month as part of a move to pare inventory.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday approved a new Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) HIV medicine that combines four ingredients into one pill.

Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) has named Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) executive Christopher H. Peterson as its new chief financial officer, a month after the departure of its former financial chief.

Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. (SBH) named its president and chief executive, Gary G. Winterhalter, as its new chairman, replacing James G. Berges, who retired. The company also unveiled a $300 million buyback program.

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) named Kathy Savitt as its new chief marketing officer, replacing Mollie Spilman, who was named to the position only three months ago.