Daily Briefing


December 24, 2009

Peltz keeps buying trend, increases Legg holdings

Activist investor Nelson Peltz has increased his stake in Legg Mason Inc. by 230,000 shares, bringing his Legg holdings to more than 8.7 million shares. The purchases Monday and Tuesday, following several purchases last week, mean he now owns about 5.4 percent of the company, the No. 2 shareholder behind San Francisco fund manager Dodge & Cox. Peltz joined Legg's board this fall and is known for targeting good but underperforming brands. Legg insists Peltz is not aiming to sell or break up the company, and said his Trian Fund Management LP has agreed not to acquire more than 9.9 percent of Legg stock in the next two years.

- A Baltimore Sun reporter

Two-day BlackBerry outages affect millions

The second BlackBerry outage in less than a week disrupted service for millions of users on two continents Tuesday and Wednesday. The company behind the service, Canada's Research in Motion Ltd., blamed a software upgrade for the problem, which it said was confined to North and South America. RIM said BlackBerry users were unable to send or receive e-mails and instant messages but did not lose phone service. Many users also found the Internet inaccessible. RIM said the disruptions began around 1:45 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, worsened around 6:30 p.m. and began to be fixed around 11:30 p.m. Service appeared restored by Wednesday afternoon. RIM would not disclose exactly how many subscribers were affected. The glitch comes after another outage last Thursday and at least three breakdowns in 2008.

- Associated Press

New home sales drop, but spending rises

WASHINGTON - Americans are starting to spend a bit more money, but not enough to power a strong economic recovery. Consumer spending posted its second straight monthly increase in November, rising 0.5 percent, the government said Wednesday. But new homes clearly weren't on the shopping list. New home sales plunged unexpectedly to the lowest level since April. At the same time, economists said the economy was much improved from this time last year, when the nation was gripped by the financial crisis. The 11 percent slump in new home sales from October's pace shows consumers are taking their time following an extension of a tax credit for first-time and repeat buyers.

- Associated Press

Airlines seek antitrust OK for Asia service

MINNEAPOLIS - United Airlines, Continental, and All Nippon Airways applied for antitrust approval on Wednesday so they can work together more closely on flights across the Pacific. The three carriers already sell tickets on each other's planes as partners in the Star Alliance, which Continental joined in October. But they want to form a joint venture that would strengthen their financial ties. If their immunity application is approved, they would jointly manage trans-Pacific activities, including schedules, prices and sales.

- Associated Press

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