new yorkDennis Seid 5/13/09
Stocks fall after reports
question economic bounce
n NEW YORK – Investors are looking at the economy more skeptically.
Stocks retreated 184.22, or more than 2 percent, to 8,284.89 on Wednesday and bond prices rose after two reports suggested the economy is not bouncing back as quickly as investors hoped.
The Standard amp& Poor’s 500 index fell 24.43, or 2.7 percent, to 883.92, while the Nasdaq composite index declined 51.73, or 3 percent, to 1,664.19.
Investors are mindful that the Dow Jones industrial average spiked 31 percent from its early March lows – the biggest jump in such a short span since the 1930s. After Wednesday’s decline the index is still up 26.5 percent from March 9, but investors are now wondering if the market will see a sharper pullback.
Madoff credit card proves
family’s piggy bank
n NEW YORK – The credit card bill is a 30-page study in conspicuous consumption.
A quick scan shows a restaurant charge of more than $2,800, $2,000 in spending at a Parisian boutique and $441 at a gourmet bagel shop. The total amount due: more than $100,000.
Eye-popping numbers aside, the American Express statement from January 2008 has taken on broader meaning because of the notorious name on the corporate account: Bernard L. Madoff. The vast majority of the charges aren’t even his; they belong to his family and associates.
European Union hits
Intel with $1.45B fine
n SAN FRANCISCO – Intel Corp. was fined a record $1.45 billion by the European Union on Wednesday for using strong-arm sales tactics in the computer chip market – a penalty that could turn up the pressure on U.S. regulators to go after the company, too.
The fine against the world’s biggest chip maker represents a huge victory for Intel’s Silicon Valley rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., or AMD, the No. 2 supplier of microprocessors to PC makers.
AMD has sued Intel and lobbied regulators around the world for the past five years, complaining that Intel was penalizing PC makers in the U.S. and abroad for doing business with AMD.
AIG’s plan, future
n The government-installed head of AIG told Congress Wednesday the insurance giant is making progress toward repaying U.S. taxpayers by selling many of its foreign assets, but lawmakers questioned whether the plan makes sense and demanded details.
American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Edward Liddy said the company has reduced, but not eliminated, the risk its failure could pose to the global economy despite getting more than $180 billion in federal bailout aid.
Liddy agreed to provide portions of AIG’s “Project Destiny” restructuring plan to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but said details are sensitive and could hurt the company’s ability to sell assets while unfairly helping its international competitors: ACE Ltd., Zurich Financial Services Group and Axa SA.
Pharmacists accuse CVS
of unfair competition
n INDIANAPOLIS – A pharmacists association on Wednesday accused CVS Caremark Corp. of waging unfair competition and asked for a Federal Trade Commission investigation.
The National Community Pharmacists Association has accused Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS of using sensitive patient information and copayment manipulation to steer patients to its pharmacies and drug mail-order businesses. The Alexandria, Va.-based association met with the Federal Trade Commission and also has talked to members of Congress.
CVS said in an e-mailed statement the association mischaracterizes its business practices.
The company bought Caremark in 2007 in a deal worth more than $26 billion. CVS runs more than 6,900 retail pharmacies, and Caremark manages drug benefits for health plan sponsors and members.