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Archive for Friday, November 7, 2003

Briefcase

November 7, 2003

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Greenspan says economy poised for job creation

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan delivered an upbeat assessment of economic prospects, saying Thursday the odds "increasingly favor" a revival in job growth.

Greenspan cited a number of favorable recent developments pointing to stronger economic growth and said that even the job market, which has continued to shed jobs this year, seemed to be finally turning around.

However, he warned about long-term threats posed by the soaring federal budget deficit. If that red-ink problem is not brought under control by the time baby boomers start retiring, it could have "notable, destabilizing effects" on future growth prospects, he said.

Music

Bertelsmann, Sony Corp. report plans to merge

Bertelsmann AG and Sony Corp. announced Thursday a preliminary plan to merge their music businesses, setting the stage for a music company that would vie for world primacy with Universal Music Group.

A merger of Sony Music Entertainment and Bertelsmann's BMG, if it comes to pass, would bring together the world's No. 2 and No. 5 music companies as the industry struggles with losses blamed on music piracy.

The new company, to be called Sony BMG, would be equally owned by Sony and Bertelsmann and run by Andrew Lack, chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment.

Earnings

Aquila reports loss

Aquila Inc. narrowed its loss to $169.9 million in the third quarter as it continued to wind down its wholesale energy business and sell assets.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based energy company reported Thursday that it lost $169.9 million, or 87 cents a share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $331.6 million, or $1.85 a share, during the same period last year. Sales fell to $322 million from $451.3 million.

The third quarter was the sixth straight in which Aquila has reported losses. The company, which operates the natural gas utility in Lawrence, has been selling assets to pay debts after deciding last year to leave the energy trading business.

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