Monthly Archives: March 2011

Wednesday stocks higher after payroll report, pharma deal

Midday Dow at 12,370, up 91 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose Wednesday as a strong payroll report and a big pharmaceutical deal overshadowed concerns about the nuclear crisis in Japan and the battle for control of Libya.
The ADP National Employment Report said 201,000 new private sector jobs were added in March. That is roughly in line with the 210,000 analysts had expected, but investors were encouraged by a strong gain in small business hiring.
While not a huge surprise, the ADP report “helped the realization that things are not as bleak as they seemed a few weeks ago,” said Ryan Detrick, a strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research.
The report is seen as a precursor to the government’s March payrolls report due Friday, but the two reports don’t always match up. Traders are looking for any clues about how strong the U.S. job market is as they try to figure out how soon the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates.
Cephalon Inc. surged 28 percent after Valeant Pharmaceuticals International offered to take over the biopharmaceutical company for $5.7 billion in cash. Valeant, based in Canada, rose 10 percent. The takeover bid is the latest in a string of deal-related news, another positive sign for investors.
“It shows that companies still think there are some good deals out there,” said Detrick. “If they are willing to pay a premium, that’s a good sign for the overall stock market.”

Monday stocks push higher on improving reports

Dow at 12,253 so far today, up 32 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher to start the week after economic reports suggested that the recovery is continuing.
The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose at its fastest pace in four months in February. The National Association of Realtors said more Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February than economists were expecting. Sales rose in every region but the Northeast, but remained below what is considered a healthy level.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 20 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,241 in afternoon trading Monday. The broader S&P 500 index rose 2, or 0.1 percent, to 1,315. The Nasdaq composite inched up 2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,745.
“We are continuing to grind higher because all of the economic data that was stronger than expected,” said John Brady, a senior vice president at MF Global. “There was no more bad news out of the Middle East over the weekend and the situation in Libya looks like it’s stabilizing.”
In Libya, rebels gained ground against longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi after international airstrikes against Gadhafi’s forces. Oil prices fell as Libyan rebels retook control of key port towns Ras Lanouf and Brega and said they would resume exporting crude within weeks.
In the U.S., Eastman Kodak Co. jumped nearly 11 percent after the U.S. Trade Commission said it will review a judge’s finding in a patent dispute with Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. A favorable ruling could pave the way for Kodak to reap higher fees.

Wednesday Dow plummets as Japan nuke crisis worsens

Dow off 215 points so far today, now at 11,777.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks plunged Tuesday, and bond prices rose, as the nuclear crisis in Japan intensified following a deadly earthquake and tsunami. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points.
The market dropped sharply at the start of trading on news that dangerous levels of radiation are leaking from a crippled nuclear plant following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Investors sold because of the uncertainty about the impact the nuclear crisis would have not only on Japan, but also on companies in this country. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy.
Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at New York-based brokerage house Avalon Partners, said fear had taken hold in the market.
“It’s a situation where you sell, and you ask questions later,” he said.
After initially falling as much as 297 points, the Dow backtracked was down 230 points, or 2 percent, to 11,762 in late morning trading. All 30 of the stocks in the Dow average were down.

Monday stocks pull back on concerns about Japan

Dow at 11,922, down 121 points so far today.

NEW YORK (AP) — Mounting concerns over the impact of the massive earthquake in Japan pushed stocks lower Monday. The earthquake and tsunami along Japan’s northeast coast killed thousands and has raised fears of a slowdown in the world’s third-largest economy.
All 10 company groups that make up the Standard and Poor’s 500 index fell. Utilities companies lost 1.9 percent, the most of any group, on worries that the disaster may lead to increased skepticism over the safety of nuclear power plants.
The S&P index, the basis for most U.S. mutual funds, fell 15 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,288.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 122, or 1 percent, to 11,922. The Nasdaq composite fell 29, or 1.1 percent, to 2,686.
Japan’s central bank pumped a record $184 billion into money market accounts to encourage bank lending. Financial analysts said the move could put pressure on Japan to raise interest rates, particularly since the country is saddled with a massive debt that, at 200 percent of gross domestic product, is the biggest among developed nations.

Energy use generally down at Port of Bremerton facilities

BREMERTON NATIONAL AIRPORT — The Port of Bremerton has cut energy use by nearly 4 percent in the year ending November 2010, according to a report from the Cascade Power Group.
Some of the big players at the port that experienced power reductions the most included Olympic View Industrial Park Building 1 (45 percent) and OVIP Building 7 (25 percent).
Port facilities showing greater energy used included lighting at a couple of port parks — a 24 percent increase was measured at Water Street Park in Port Orchard, and an 11 percent increase was measured at the Port Orchard Marina Park.
Plus, the runway lights at Bremerton National Airport used 9 percent more energy than the year before, according to the study.
The port shares a “resource energy officer” with other entities like the city of Bremerton. The officer’s work is grant-supported, and the Port Orchard Marina had undergone an energy audit as part of the officer’s work. Some of the officer’s recommendations for the marina:
— retrofit exterior lighting to reduce wattage.
— replace hot-water heaters
— upgrade washers to more efficient front-loading models
— weatherize laundry, restrooms and shop
— replace unit heaters with radiant heaters
— look for solar opportunities
Steve Slaton, the port’s director of marinas, said some of the improvements were free, but others would require money, so those would have to be evaluated.

Should the Port of Bremerton sell or keep its lot on the downtown Bremerton waterfront?

What to do with its two acres of largely undeveloped waterfront in downtown Bremerton?
That was the question Port of Bremerton commissioners and staff tossed around in a study session last week.
Purchased in 2009, port visionaries pictured the land with an underground parking garage, plus public/private development on top. The port would build the garage, then a private development would put a office-retail complex on the stories above it.
But hoped-for funding from Congress didn’t come though this last budget round, leaving port leaders in a back-to-square-one mood.
Commissioners could sell it or hang onto it for better market conditions, advised CEO Cary Bozeman.
Commissioner Bill Mahan seemed most convinced the port should hang onto it.
A national company has expressed interest in a public private partnership with the port, he said. The company does such deals all over the nation, and the port would be guaranteed parking for its marina forever. Company representatives have visited once before, and are watching any port participation in the upcoming federal grant-getting process, he said.
“I know they’re very interested,” Mahan said.
Talk then centered around a hypothetical fitness club for the Navy and contractor folks working nearby. Mahan thought another restaurant might be of use.
Bozeman said, “I think all options are open here.”
The land is off Washington Avenue between the condos and the Hampton.
— Rachel Pritchett, reporter

No decision announced yet in carpenters’ union merger discussion


No one’s in a talkative mood.
But I’ve learned that Peninsula Carpenters Local 1597 is still in existence, at least as of Wednesday.
Local 1597 leaders joined those from 10 other locals in the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters on Feb. 26 in SeaTac to listen to what their future might look like with some mergers.
The 11 locals are part of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, an affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC), which called the meeting.
The UBC has merged locals all over the country in recent years as part of a streamlining effort, most recently in Oregon.
After the SeaTac meeting, representatives of locals were given time to write letters to the union suggesting how any possible mergers might occur, or why they shouldn’t occur.
Dave Mounce of Bremerton, a member of Local 470 in Tacoma, said he was upset that the general membership had no voice at SeaTac. Only the invited members of the locals’ executive boards were allowed to attend.
He suspects that in the end, the 11 locals might be consolidated down to two or three, probably along the I-5 corridor and on the Eastside. Under a merger scenario, a likely partner for Local 1597 might be Tacoma 470, Mounce said.
No one at the regional council would return my calls asking for comment.
Ownership of the carpenters’ hall on Fifth Street in Bremerton would go to the UBC, along with some assets of other merged locals, according to the charters of these very old unions. Local 1597 began in 1914.
That doesn’t sit well with some carpenters.
“I want to know where that money’s going, because it’s our money,” Mounce said.
Others say that was always the understanding.
A decision could be come in a month or so.
Local 1597 has 347 active members.

— Rachel Pritchett