Credit Suisse hit by $5.2 billion in writedowns

No. 2 Swiss bank Credit Suisse reported a larger-than-expected $2.1 billion quarterly loss, on $5.2 billion in credit-related writedowns. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) It was the bank’s first quarterly loss in five years. Credit Suisse’s core wealth management business was pretty strong in the quarter, though, indicating that wealthy clients were still making large deposits. (Reuters) Still, “these are disappointing numbers,” said Joerg de Vries-Hippen at Allianz Global Investors in Frankfurt. “The only positive thing is that they are not announcing a capital increase, at least not yet.” (Bloomberg)

Ford posts a surprise profit

Ford Motor Co. reported an unexpected profit of $100 million, as strong results in Europe and South America outweighed declining U.S. car sales. (Reuters) Analysts had expected Ford to post a loss. The world’s No. 3 automaker also attributed its positive balance sheet to cost-cutting measures, including job cuts and buyouts. But it said that the latest round of buyouts, shedding 4,200 hourly workers, fell short of expectations. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) Ford said the profit was evidence that its turnaround plan is working. Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson agreed. “There are signs of progress that Ford just may, in fact, be fixable,” he said. (Bloomberg)

Apple beats expectations on strong Mac sales

Apple Inc. reported a 36 percent rise in quarterly profits, to $1.05 billion, beating analysts’ estimates. The growth was fueled by a 51 percent jump in Macintosh computer sales, with 2.29 million sold. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) But Apple shares dipped slightly in extended trading because the company’s gross profit margin came in slightly lower than expected and because analysts are nervous about Apple’s greater-than-average exposure to the turbulent U.S. market. “With the stock up 41 percent since the February low, it is going to take a lot of good news to propel the stock higher,” said Robert Stimpson at Oak Associates. (Reuters)

Digging for golden dreams in the Rockies

Gold made the Rocky Mountains famous when it was first discovered by American prospectors there in 1858. Now, 150 years later, a new generation of miners is hoping for a modern day mother lode. At least five mines have opened in Colorado or are about to, heralding the most gold activity in the state in decades. The main driver of this new gold rush, of course, is the record price of gold, currently at around $900 an ounce but recently above $1,000 an ounce. “At $700 gold, we would make a lot of money,” says Stephen King, CEO of Wits Basin Precious Minerals. “At $900, it’s a dream come true.” (The Denver Post)