Credit Suisse clipped by subprime losses
Swiss bank Credit Suisse reported a 31 percent drop in net profit, to $1.12 billion, due largely to $1.9 billion in write-downs on securities and leveraged loans tied to the U.S. subprime mortgage collapse. (Reuters) The earnings were higher than analysts expected, though, as Credit Suisse posted strong gains from managing the wealth of rich clients. (Bloomberg) In other earnings news, consumer product conglomerate Unilever said its profits rose 37 percent, to $1.46 billion, on strong growth in India and China. (MarketWatch)
Movie, TV writers’ contract expires
Talks between Hollywood writers and producers failed to produce an agreement before the Writers Guild of America contract expired last night. The two sides were at odds over how much writers should get paid for content distributed over the Internet and from DVD sales. (Reuters) A strike would hit late-night talk shows first. Guild members authorized a strike two weeks ago, but entertainment lawyer Jonathan Handel said the writers might want to hold off for a bit. “The writers guild has two weapons: One is a strike, the other is the threat of a strike,” Handel said. “It has no reason to toss that weapon away without using it for a bit.” (AP in USA Today)
FTC to consider Internet ’do not track’ list
The Federal Trade Commission is meeting today to hear input on Internet-privacy proposals. Consumer groups yesterday called on the FTC to implement a “do not track” program modeled on the federal “do not call” list. (The Washington Post) The consumer groups warned that Web marketing firms are quietly gathering reams of data on users’ surfing habits, and proposed easy methods for opting out of being tracked. Internet ad firms said the price may not be worth it for most people. “If you want the content to remain free on the Web, you need to at least give us the information to monetize it,” said 24/7 Real Media CEO David Moore. (The New York Times, free registration required)
Baby’s first PC
For some parents, their children can’t learn to master technology soon enough. Starting today, they’ll be able to buy the Eee PC, a pared-down, $399 laptop designed specifically for children 6 and up. And then there are the Pink Princess PC for girls and Race Car PC for boys. These starter computers generally run simple operating systems featuring large icons for activities like Web browsing and writing. Children start using electronics at age 6.7 now, according to NPD Group, but until recently, PCs were too expensive to market for kids. Still, “I’m surprised it took them so long,” says Ellen Hage, who is buying a PC for her 6-year-old son. (The Wall Street Journal)