Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

October 16, 2008

Morgan, Wells Fargo profits dip

NEW YORK : In the midst of one of the nation's worst credit crises, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. managed to report better-than-expected third-quarter results yesterday. But even two of the country's strongest banks proved they are not immune to the widespread credit problems plaguing their peers. Both banks reported sharp declines in profit as they took hits on investments and increased their credit reserves to prepare for troubles ahead. But given the waning economy and the current shake-up in the markets, the credit problems did not come as a surprise to most analysts. While many remain cautious of the worsening economy, analysts generally viewed the results as positive. "If you look at the reports today, there is no surprise that they ran into some more credit issues," said Michael Sheldon, chief strategist at RDM Financial Group. "Overall, the long-term growth story remains a positive in the eyes of investors."

Associated Press

EBay posts 3Q profit, but outlook is lower

NEW YORK : EBay Inc. posted a third-quarter profit that beat analyst forecasts yesterday, but its lower-than-expected fourth-quarter forecast indicated the online auction site operator is not immune from the slowing economy. The San Jose, Calif.-based company's shares fell 54 cents, or 3.8 percent, in after-hours trading, after finishing regular trading down $2.41, or 13.6 percent, at $15.33. EBay earned $492 million, or 38 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. In the year-ago period, eBay reported a loss of $936 million, or 69 cents per share, stemming from charges to its Skype telecommunications unit. Excluding one-time items, eBay earned 46 cents per share - five cents higher than analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected. Revenue rose 12 percent to $2.12 billion, a bit lower than the $2.13 billion analysts anticipated. Sales from the company's marketplace segment - which includes eBay, Shopping.com, StubHub and other e-commerce sites - rose more than 4 percent to $1.38 billion.

Associated Press

Hopkins business school starts series

The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School is launching a "Leaders & Legends" lecture series today featuring prominent business and government leaders. The inaugural speaker is Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who will speak from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Renaissance Hotel on Pratt Street. Tickets are $35. Future speakers include FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair; NASA Administrator Michael Griffin; Grant Thornton CEO Edward Nusbaum; NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis; and Lockheed Martin CEO Robert Stevens.

GM says buyers can still get loans

DETROIT : With October auto sales expected to fall short of September's 15-year low, General Motors Corp. is launching a campaign this week to reach people who have stopped looking for cars out of fear that they can't get a loan. Many banks and finance companies, including GM's own GMAC Financial Services, have tightened credit standards because they can't borrow money to lend, or they're reluctant to lend and risk defaults. GM will promote its financing options with radio, newspaper and digital advertising from Friday through Nov. 3. The program will publicize a 6-year-old computer database that lets dealers locate banks, credit unions and other lenders willing to make loans based on a particular buyer's credit. GMAC said Monday that it would make auto loans only to people with credit scores of 700 or above. That, along with news stories about people getting turned down for car loans, has kept customers away from showrooms, according to industry analysts.

Associated Press

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