Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

October 09, 2008

CEG unit lays off about 70, including 15 in Baltimore

Constellation Energy Group's NewEnergy retail power division laid off up to 70 employees as part of restructuring plans, affecting about 15 workers in Baltimore, the company said this week. The job losses affected 10 percent of the total 675- to 700-employee work force of the division, which includes facilities in California, Texas, New England and Canada, spokesman Lawrence McDonnell said. No office was closed. NewEnergy sells power in competitive markets to business and commercial users. Constellation said the restructuring has been in works for several months and was unrelated to its $4.7 billion sale to MidAmerican Energy Holdings.

Hanah Cho

Federal Reserve grants $37.8 billion loan to AIG

CHARLOTTE, N.C. : The Federal Reserve agreed yesterday to provide insurance giant American International Group Inc. with a loan of up to $37.8 billion, on top of one made to the troubled company last month. Under the new program, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will borrow up to $37.8 billion in investment-grade, fixed-income securities from AIG in return for cash collateral. These securities were previously lent by AIG's insurance company subsidiaries to third parties. The arrangement will help AIG secure funds on an as-needed basis, the New York-based insurer said. As of Monday, about $37.2 billion of securities were available for loans.

Associated Press

B of A to buy back action-rate securities

WASHINGTON: Bank of America Corp. has agreed to buy back as much as $4.7 billion in auction-rate securities to settle charges that it misled thousands of customers about the risky investments, federal and New York state regulators said yesterday. The regulators also announced similar settlements with the Royal Bank of Canada., which agreed to buy back about $850 million worth of auction-rate securities. The repurchase is being offered to about 2,200 clients in the wealth management and capital markets division of RBC Capital Markets as well as JB Hanauer & Co. and Baltimore brokerage firm Ferris, Baker Watts. The Securities and Exchange Commission and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced the settlements with Bank of America Corp., which joins nine other big investment banks that have agreed to buy back a total of more than $50 billion of the securities. Bank of America also agreed to "use its best efforts" to provide as much as $5 billion in liquidity to other businesses that bought them.

Associated Press

74,000 in Md. have until Oct. 15 to file for rebate

More than 74,000 Maryland retirees and disabled veterans - including about 16,200 in Baltimore - have about a week left to file a 2007 tax return to receive a tax rebate, according to the latest figures from the Internal Revenue Service. Many of these taxpayers usually don't have to file a return because of low income and might not be aware that they need to file a return to collect a stimulus check. The rebate is worth at least $300 for those with qualifying income. To get the rebate this year, you must file a return by Oct 15. (This deadline also applies to the 186,000 Marylanders who have asked for an extension this year.) Miss the deadline and you will have to wait to claim the rebate on next year's return. The IRS and other groups are offering free tax preparation for retirees and disabled veterans. See IRS locations online at www.irs.gov or call 800-829-1040.

Eileen Ambrose

Price joins federal program for money market funds

Baltimore's T. Rowe Price Group will participate in a temporary federal guarantee program to prop up the $3.4 trillion money market fund industry. Price joins Legg Mason Inc., Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group Inc. among others in applying for the program, for which the sign-up deadline was yesterday. Edward Bernard, chairman of Price's money market funds, said they are highly liquid and well-diversified. The company managed $16.1 billion in money market funds as of Aug. 31. Price said late Tuesday that participating taxable and tax-free money market funds include: T. Rowe Price Prime Reserve Fund, T. Rowe Price Summit Cash Reserves Fund, T. Rowe Price Prime Reserve Portfolio, T. Rowe Price U.S. Treasury Money Fund, T. Rowe Price Tax Exempt Money Fund, T. Rowe Price Summit Municipal Money Market Fund, T. Rowe Price New York Tax Free Money Fund, T. Rowe Price Maryland Tax Free Money Fund, and T. Rowe Price California Tax Free Money Fund.

From Sun staff and news services

Retailers reeling from reduced spending

NEW YORK : American consumers went into hiding last month, leaving retailers with dismal sales and an uncertain future well beyond the holiday season. As retailers reported their monthly sales figures yesterday, even discounters weren't immune to shoppers' mounting worries about their financial security. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said sales of discretionary items were weak as it posted solid results that were nevertheless a bit below expectations. Target Corp. fared far worse, reporting a bigger-than-expected drop.

Associated Press

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