WaMu debt gets 57 cents on the dollar

Nearly $1 billion in debt from failed bank Washington Mutual Inc. sold in an auction Thursday at a markedly higher price than was seen for a similar auction of Lehman Brothers debt. The auction priced $988 million of Washington Mutual debt at 57 cents for every $1 of debt sold. At an auction earlier in the month, investors sold $4.92 billion in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. debt for only 8.625 cents on the dollar. The significantly higher result for Washington Mutual debt indicates investors feel they will likely recover more cash on their Washington Mutual holdings than Lehman debt.

Scion line named most reliable car

Toyota Motor Co.’s Scion brand topped the list of most reliable cars in Consumer Reports’ annual vehicle reliability study, as Asian automakers continued to crowd the top of the magazine’s rankings. Meanwhile, Chrysler LLC vehicles saw their scores fall sharply from 2007, while Ford Motor Co.’s nameplates gained ground over their Detroit rivals. “Scion has a portfolio of three fairly small, fairly well equipped vehicles,” said David Champion, director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center. “It’s a basic form of transport, but put together well.”

Redmond firm adds to layoffs

Genie Industries of Remond has laid off another 375 employees in the second round of job cuts in less than four months. The company, which makes aerial lifts, platforms and light towers, said Wednesday that it was being hurt by the global economic slowdown and the near-freeze in the credit markets. That has limited its customers’ ability to order new equipment. Genie said the cuts represent about 18 percent of its work force in Redmond, which had about 2,400 production and office workers.

U.S. jobless claims surpass estimates

Unemployment claims, already well into recession territory, are rising even faster than expected, leading economists to warn Thursday that the worst is yet to come. As the Labor Department released bleak new numbers on the job market, Goldman Sachs, Chrysler and Xerox all announced they were cutting workers by the thousands, adding to the woes of an economy beset by tighter credit and wobbly banks. The government said new applications for unemployment insurance rose 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 478,000, above analysts’ estimates of 470,000. Jobless claims above 400,000 are considered a sign of recession.

RadioShack stores beat expectations

Back-to-school sales of laptop computers and strong demand for digital television converters and GPS navigation devices helped RadioShack Corp. boost its third-quarter profit by a ­better-than-expected 8 percent, the consumer electronics chain said Thursday. For the three months ending Sept. 30, the company earned $50.2 million, or 39 cents per share. That’s up from $46.3 million, or 34 cents per share, during the same period last year. Total revenue jumped 6 percent to $1.02 billion, up from $960.3 million, helped by a strong 45 percent rise in sales online.

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