The credit markets showed renewed signs of stress Friday as investors, worried about plunging stocks and the possibility of companies defaulting on their debt, fled once again to the safety of government debt. The three-month Treasury bill’s yield fell further below 1 percent, while the 30-year Treasury bond yield’s dropped briefly to multi-decade lows before rebounding.
Columbia apparel beats expectations
Columbia Sportswear Co., which makes outdoor apparel and footwear, said Thursday its third-quarter profit fell 7 percent, hurt by lower demand. But the results surpassed analyst expectations amid a difficult economy. Profit for the quarter ended Sept. 30 fell to $58.3 million, or $1.69 per share, from $62.6 million, or $1.72 per share last year. Revenue fell 4 percent to $452.4 million from $471.1 million last year. Revenue fell in all regions except Latin American and Asia Pacific. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted a profit of $1.40 per share on revenue of $450 million.
Online retailers push e-mail pitches
Online retailers, grappling with a sharp drop in consumer spending from even the most gung-ho Web enthusiasts, are becoming pushier with e-mails that pitch the latest deals. With pleas like, “Last chance to save 20 percent,” or “Hurry, final sale ends,” retailers from pure online players to brick-and-mortar stores with a Web presence are hoping to get consumers to open their wallets — quickly and in a cost-effective way.
Chrysler will cut salaried staff levels
Chrysler LLC, whose owner has been in talks to sell the automaker to General Motors Corp., said Friday it will cut 25 percent of its salaried work force starting next month and warned that it will make more restructuring announcements soon. CEO Robert Nardelli said the moves are being made as the company “works to find new ways to operate.” Chrysler, which has about 18,500 white-collar workers, said Friday it also will cut a quarter of its contract employees — those who work for other companies under contract with the automaker.
Apartment rents in U.S. change little
Apartment rents, as well as apartment occupancy, across the country were virtually unchanged in the third quarter of 2008, according to RealFacts, a San Francisco-based apartment data research firm. And while more than a million homes have been lost to foreclosure in the last two years and with banks readying for another 1.5 million repossessions, apartment buildings have remained solvent. To date, there have been virtually no foreclosures on large apartment buildings.
From Herald news services