Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

December 10, 2008

Pending home sales down slightly in October

WASHINGTON: Pending U.S. home sales fell slightly in October, despite a spate of bad economic news and turmoil in the stock markets, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday. The group's seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell 0.7 percent from September to a reading of 88.9, beating economists' average estimate of 86.5, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. The index was 1 percent below October a year ago. Home sales have rebounded in recent months in large part because deeply discounted foreclosures and distressed sales account for up to 40 percent of all transactions, according to the Realtors group. An index reading of 100 is equal to the average level of sales activity in 2001, when the index began. It sunk to a record low of 83 in March. While conditions are uneven around the country, the Realtors association noted that pending home sales are showing gains in some areas, including in Florida and California markets; Providence, R.I.; Lansing, Mich.; Oklahoma City; and Las Vegas.

Associated Press

Tribune seeks court OK to borrow $50 million

Baltimore Sun parent Tribune Co. sought court permission yesterday to borrow $50 million so it can continue operating while in bankruptcy. In court papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, the Chicago-based company said it needs a $50 million letter of credit from lenders led by Barclays Bank PLC. If approved by the court, the 120-day loan agreement would give the company time to decide how much more money, if any, it must borrow while it restructures its debt. The 161-year-old newspaper and broadcast company filed for Chapter 11 protection Monday, saying it fell victim to the economic crisis and its more than $12.9 billion in debt. The company said it has enough cash to continue operating but needs the $50 million as a hedge against further drops in revenue.

Bloomberg News

Military contractor SAIC reports 14% gain in 3Q

SAN DIEGO : SAIC Inc. says its third-quarter profit rose 14 percent, boosted by new and growing programs in the defense and intelligence markets. The San Diego-based military contractor, which makes cargo inspection systems and provides logistics for land mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, said it earned $120 million, or 30 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Oct. 31. It earned $105 million, or 25 cents per share, in the corresponding period last year.

Associated Press

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