Daily Briefing


December 19, 2008

Monument St. project planned by developer

Shopping center developer Black Oak Associates plans to build Monument Street Marketplace, a 250,000-square-foot retail and office project, on the site of a former landfill in East Baltimore. The board of the Baltimore Development Corp. reviewed yesterday the proposal for the 27-acre city-owned site on East Monument Street near Edison Highway. The Owings Mills-based developer offered the plans in response to the city's June request for development proposals, Deborah Hunt Devan, a board member, said yesterday during a board meeting. The developer hopes to bring in a grocery store that could serve neighborhood residents, Devan said. The board met in closed session to review the financial aspects of the project.

Lorraine Mirabella

Regulators adopt new credit-card rules

WASHINGTON: Federal regulators adopted sweeping new rules yesterday for the credit-card industry that are meant to shield consumers from increases in interest rates on existing account balances and unreasonably tight deadlines to pay bills, among other changes. The rules, which take effect in July 2010, will allow credit-card companies to raise interest rates only on new credit cards and future purchases or advances, rather than on current balances. Amid the recession and rising job losses, consumers - even those with strong credit records - have been defaulting at high levels on their credit cards. Banks already battered by the mortgage and credit crises have lost tens of billions in red ink from the losses. The rules were approved by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department's Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration. They mark the most sweeping clampdown on the credit card industry in decades.

Associated Press

Oil prices drop further in Jan., Feb. contracts

Oil continued its downward march yesterday as mass layoffs pushed the U.S. economy deeper into recession, signaling a drastic pullback on energy spending. Light sweet crude for February delivery fell $2.94 to settle at $41.67 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The January contract, which closes today, fell $3.84 to settle at $36.22 after dropping as low as $35.98, levels last seen in June 2004. There is no demand for oil right now, said analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover. Higher prices for the February contract suggest that oil brokers and traders believe OPEC's unprecedented 2.2-million-barrel daily production cut announced Wednesday will tighten supply. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had already taken 2 million barrels of oil out of production, bringing total cuts to more than 4 million barrels a day. "The market is saying OPEC cuts will have an impact but just not right away," Beutel said.

Associated Press

Sirius XM Radio cutting 22% of jobs

Sirius XM Radio Inc. said yesterday that it will have trimmed 22 percent of its work force by year's end, as the satellite radio provider moves to slash costs to stay on track and post its first-ever adjusted profit next year. The New York-based company will have cut 458 people from its staff, going down to 1,600 people. Sirius expects the job cuts and other cost-reduction measures to save $425 million next year. It forecast a smaller-than-expected adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $200 million this year. For the fourth quarter, Sirius expects to post an adjusted loss of $32 million, a vast improvement over the $224 million loss it recorded in the year-ago period. For 2009, Sirius reaffirmed its expectation for adjusted profit of $300 million. Shareholders approved a reverse stock split to boost Sirius' share price, which closed yesterday at 14 cents.

Associated Press

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