Business digest 06/08/05

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Sears Holdings stock falls after earnings report

CHICAGO -- The inaugural quarterly results from newly merged Sears Holdings Corp. didn't impress investors, who sent its stock tumbling Tuesday after the nation's No. 3 retailer posted a small first quarter loss amid still-sluggish sales at Kmart and Sears stores. Sears Holdings, created through Kmart Holding Corp.'s March 24 acquisition of Sears, Roebuck and Co., reported a $9 million loss, or 7 cents a share, for the February-April period. Sears shares fell $13.41, or 8.7 percent, in late trading Tuesday.

Strategic oil reserve almost full for first time

WASHINGTON -- The United States' emergency fuel tank -- the Strategic Petroleum Reserve -- is almost full for the first time since its creation about 30 years ago. The stockpiling of 700 million barrels of oil, which is scheduled for completion by the end of August, could bring some immediate relief to the global energy market, analysts say. When the Energy Department effectively tops off its reserve, which is stored in salt caverns along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana, roughly 75,000 barrels of oil per day will become available for commercial purposes.

Monsanto raises forecast for third-quarter earnings

ST. LOUIS -- Monsanto Co., maker of top-selling Roundup herbicide and a supplier of crop seeds, on Tuesday lowered its third-quarter forecast for net income but raised its outlook for adjusted earnings while forecasting an increase in expenses related to two acquisitions. For the three-month period ended in May, the company now expects net income of 12 cents to 17 cents per share and adjusted earnings of about $1.05 per share. Monsanto said the revised outlook reflects more accurate estimates of charges from writing off in-process research and development associated with the acquisitions of Seminis Inc. and Emergent Genetics Inc.

Greenspan doubts U.S. approach to China money

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's effort to increase pressure on China to overhaul its currency regime got less than rave reviews from Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and key central bankers from China, Europe and Japan. Greenspan disputed the contention of U.S. manufacturers that a revaluation of China's yuan would significantly affect America's soaring trade imbalances. Zhou Xiaochuan, the head of China's central bank, rejected the administration's contention that China was ready to move immediately to a more flexible currency. Jean-Claude Trichet, the head of the European Central Bank, and Toshiro Moto, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, said the timing of any move should be left up to China.

-- From wire reports

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