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European Thaw, Mall Selloff
The European Central Bank extends an open wallet to banks, and they borrow away. An Australian operator of U.S. malls falls victim to bad subprime bets. And software maker Adobe Systems Inc. reports rising profits.
 

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EWS AT A GLANCE

Europe pumps cash into banking sector

The European Central Bank extended unlimited two-week loans to banks at 4.21 percent and up, in an effort to unfreeze lending that dried up after the U.S. subprime mortgage market collapsed. (MarketWatch) Some 390 banks bid for $500 billion in loans, and the rate for interbank lending in euros fell 50 basis points to 4.45 percent after the ECB’s move. (Bloomberg) “They’re throwing everything they can at the liquidity problem,” said one trader. (Reuters) The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to release a plan today to help protect borrowers from shady lending practices that came to light in the subprime debacle. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

Mall owner Centro slumps

Australia’s Centro Properties Group, which owns and operates 700 malls in the U.S., saw its shares plummet for a second day on fears that its exposure to the U.S. subprime mortgage market could sink the company. (Bloomberg) Centro warned yesterday that it was having a hard time refinancing $1.1 billion in debt, sending its shares down 85 percent in two days on the Australian Stock Exchange. “What we saw in the credit markets is now in the real estate markets,” said Justin Blaess at ING Investment Management. “Centro just got caught, they rolled the dice one too many times, and too aggressively.” (Reuters)

Adobe profits rise 21 percent on CS3 sales

Software maker Adobe Systems Inc. said its fourth quarter profits rose a better-than-expected 21 percent, to $222.2 million, on strong demand for programs in Adobe’s Creative Suite 3. CS3 includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash. Adobe’s 2007 revenues came in at a record $3.16 billion, a 22.6 percent jump, but the company did not change its 2008 forecast for a 13 percent rise, to $3.57 billion. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) Its shares dipped 65 cents in extended trading, after the announcement. (Bloomberg) “The results look solid,” said analyst Steve Ashley at Robert Baird, but investors were looking for Adobe to raise its 2008 forecast. (Reuters)

Shave and a haircut, 920 bits ($115)

The man’s traditional counterpart to the facial, the shave in a barber’s chair, is making some sort of a comeback. And the Art of Shaving, a Miami-based “barbershop spa,” is looking for barbers who still know how to wield a straight razor. “In most states, you’re still required to do a shave for the barbering test, and in most cases, that’s the last time a barber picked up a razor in his career,” said Carl Cwiok at the Art of Shaving. Cwiok’s shop and other upscale men’s salons charge $35 to $45 for a shave nowadays, but a 90-minute shave and haircut will set you back $115 at places like the Grooming Lounge in downtown Washington, D.C. (The Washington Post)
 

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