Dollar Muscle, Jumbo Flab
The dollar has been strengthening as investors bet that the economic stimulus could lead to higher interest rates. Jumbo mortgage lender Thornburg posts a wider-than-expected loss. And Oklahomans are finding new virtue in public transit.
NEWS AT A GLANCE
Dollar showing renewed strength
The dollar strengthened against several major currencies, including the Japanese yen and the euro, for the third day in four this morning. The rise in the dollar was tied to expectations that the U.S. economic stimulus checks have started trickling into the economy, which could help bolster the case for raising interest rates. (Bloomberg) The strengthening dollar helped pull back the price of oil, as a stronger greenback decreases the incentive to park cash in oil and other commodities. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll found that 32 percent of Americans think the high oil and gas prices are due to supply and demand, while 62 percent blame “unethical behavior” by the oil industry. (CNNMoney.com)
Mortgage lender Thornburg posts big loss
New Mexico–based Thornburg Mortgage, which specializes in “jumbo loans,” posted a $3.31 billion quarterly loss on writedowns and the falling value of securities it owns. (AP in CNNMoney.com) The $20.64-a-share loss, excluding paying preferred-stock dividends, was much higher than the $3.36-a-share loss expected by analysts. (MarketWatch) Thornburg wrote down $1.54 billion in mortgage-backed securities and booked a $941 million charge related to its bankruptcy-averting $1.35 billion investor bailout in March. (Reuters) Thornburg has lost $6.65 billion in the past three quarters, as foreclosures rose and buyers thinned out. (Bloomberg)
InBev offers $46 billion for Anheuser-Busch
Belgian brewing giant InBev made an unsolicited $46.3 billion bid for Anheuser-Busch, vying to become the world’s biggest brewer and seller of half the U.S. beer. The $65-a-share cash offer is 22 percent higher than the U.S. brewer’s closing price May 22, before merger rumors surfaced. (Reuters) It would be the largest cash deal on record, and the largest in the alcohol industry. “Shareholders are going to be pretty pleased with that price,” said shareholder Donald Yacktman at Yacktman Asset Management. Anheuser Busch’s stock jumped 7.5 percent in extended trading, to $62.73. (Bloomberg) Some Busch family members and U.S. politicians oppose the sale of the iconic U.S. brand. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)
Driving Oklahoma to the bus
Gas prices are taking an especially hard toll on Oklahomans, as long commutes and underdeveloped public transportation make them especially vulnerable to high costs at the pump. The economic development group Common Current ranks Oklahoma City and Tulsa Nos. 50 and 49, respectively, on its new list of worst U.S. cities to weather an oil crisis. According to the study, only 2 percent of Oklahomans use public transit, compared with 55 percent of New Yorkers. But that’s partly because they can’t, yet. “You’ve got people coming out of the woodwork, screaming for more bus service,” said Tulsa transit manager Bill Cartwright. “We get calls and emails daily.” (CNNMoney.com)
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