Last week's headlines

M&T Bank specialists to help expand bond business

August 17, 2008

Constellation's rating gets cut

A major Wall Street firm cut Constellation Energy Group's credit rating after the Baltimore-based company recently revised its estimate of how much collateral it would need to address such a downgrade. Corporate credit rating agency Standard & Poor's cut Constellation's rating from BBB+ to BBB and gave it a "stable" outlook for maintaining the rating. After one analyst highlighted the revisions and another questioned the company's accounting, Constellation's stock sank 16 percent Tuesday, the largest one-day drop since 2001.

M&T hires 15 specialists

M&T Bank hired 15 specialists who had made up the core of the municipal bond department of regional brokerage Ferris, Baker Watts Inc. The hires, which occurred during the past month, allow Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T to expand into the fixed-rate municipal bond business. All but one of the bond specialists will work in Maryland, the bank announced.

More seek help from charity

More people than ever are calling the Salvation Army's Baltimore offices this year, asking for help paying their utility bills or for food to feed their families. And contributions from individuals, the charity says, are down $100,000 from a year earlier. Statewide, nonprofits are seeing donations fall and pleas for help increase.

Bank advised to trim results

Provident Bankshares Corp. officials attributed a move to restate quarterly profit that was announced only a month ago to unexpected guidance from auditors on how to value certain investment securities. The bank said the restatement of net income to $10.2 million from a previously reported $15.1 million for the quarter that ended June 30 has no effect on operating results.

Volvo gears up for expansion

Volvo AB of Sweden is embarking on a $50 million expansion and adding 50 workers to its Mack Powertrain Division plant in Hagerstown as part of a sweeping restructuring across the company.

But the truck maker also said it would lay off up to three-quarters of its 120 workers at a parts facility in Baltimore as the company moves to streamline some operations.

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