Credit Suisse warns of loss
Credit Suisse said it will probably book its first loss since 2003 this quarter, after last month’s massive write-down of assets tied to the deliberate mispricing of debt securities by traders. The “small number” of unidentified traders have been fired or suspended, the bank said. (Bloomberg) Credit Suisse lowered the amount of the writedowns, though, to $2.65 billion, from $2.85 billion. Still, its shares dropped more than 6 percent in early trading in Zurich today. (Financial Times, free registration) “There are not any new surprises” in the report, said analysts at Swiss bank Wegelin & Co., but it wasn’t “the Easter egg that we’d hoped for.” (Reuters)
Borders considers sale
No. 2 U.S. book retailer Borders reported a quarterly profit of $64.7 million, but suspended its dividend and said it was considering putting itself on the market. Pershing Square Capital Management, Borders’ largest shareholder, has extended it $42.5 million in credit and offered to buy some international businesses, Borders said. (Retuers) The book and CD retailer has lost market share to online retailers and Wal-Mart, and said it could be hit by an expected slowdown in consumer spending. “Right now, you probably wouldn’t want to touch consumer-related stocks,” said Castor Pang at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong, or at least not in the U.S. (Bloomberg)
Pepsi expands Russian footprint
PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Group announced that they are buying a 75.5 percent stake in Russia’s largest juice maker, JSC Lebedyansky, for $1.4 billion, and could buy the rest later. Lebedyansky also makes baby food and mineral water, which are not part of the deal; the juice unit has 30 percent market share in Russia and is the world’s No. 6 juice producer. (Reuters) Lebedyansky sold $800 million worth of juice last year. Earlier in the week, Pepsi and Pepsi Bottling bought Russia’s Sobol-Aqua JSC, which helps package Pepsi products in the region. “Russia represents our biggest growth market,” said Pepsi Bottling CEO Eric Foss. (MarketWatch)
Biting back at bedbugs
About five years ago, the U.S. discovered it had a bedbug problem. Now the pest-control industry is stepping up with a new set of tools to fight the increasingly pesticide-resistant bloodsuckers, who are showing up in hotels and homes. Bedbugs don’t carry disease, but they are embarrassing and leave itchy welts, and people will—and have to—pay handsomely to get rid of an infestation. One new method involves a poisonous gas, but others include heating a room to bake the bugs, spraying with carbon dioxide to freeze them, or sending dogs in to find the critters. “We are looking for the silver bullet,” says University of Kentucky entomologist Michael Potter. (The Wall Street Journal)
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