BUSINESS DIGEST

The Baltimore Sun

M&T; securities acquires Pikesville brokerage

M&T; Securities Inc., the brokerage and insurance arm of M&T; Bank Corp., said yesterday that it has acquired Pikesville-based brokerage firm Peremel & Co. from PNC Investments LLC. M&T; will operate the business as a standalone investment center under the M&T; name at its current location on Reisterstown Road. The brokerage, which has eight employees, has 6,000 customers and $700 million in assets, M&T; said. M&T; Bank Corp. is a bank holding company for banking subsidiary M&T; Bank, which operates branches in seven states, including Maryland, and Washington. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Lorraine Mirabella

Martek's third quarter net income goes up

Martek Biosciences Corp. said yesterday that third quarter net income increased 47 percent to $9.3 million, or 28 cents per diluted share compared with $6.1 million, or 19 cents per diluted share for the corresponding period a year ago. Revenues were $88.4 million, a 14 percent increase from $77.8 million a year ago. The Columbia manufacturer of nutritional supplements said that its core infant formula business had strong international sales growth. Noninfant formula revenues were down because of seasonality and the slow economic environment. The company raised its outlook for the year. It expects total revenues between $349 million and $353 million, an increase of 14 percent to 15 percent. Net income is projected to be between $35.2 million and $36.2 million, and diluted earnings per share are projected to be between $1.06 and $1.09, an increase of about 65 percent after excluding the effects of a $10.8 million nonrecurring tax benefit in the prior year.

Sony recalls laptops for possible overheating

TOKYO : Sony Corp. is recalling 440,000 Vaio laptop computers worldwide because of a wiring flaw that could cause overheating. Sony said yesterday the recall involves 19 models in the Vaio TZ series manufactured between May 2007 and July 2008. The Tokyo-based consumer electronics company said improperly placed wires near the hinge connecting the body of the laptop and its display could wear quickly, causing a short circuit and overheating. A flaw in a circuit board inside the display could also overheat its rim. Sony has received 209 reports of overheating worldwide, including seven cases in which people received minor burns. The laptop problem comes two years after Sony had to engage in huge recalls of laptop batteries, which also caused overheating or even burst into flames. Sony's U.S.-listed shares fell 86 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $36.80.

Associated Press

Banks borrow more money from Fed lending program

WASHINGTON : Banks borrowed more over the past week from the Federal Reserve's emergency lending program, while Wall Street firms took a pass for the fifth week in a row. A Fed report released Thursday said commercial banks averaged $18.98 billion in daily borrowing over the past week. That compared with a daily average of $18.47 billion in the previous week. For the week ending Sunday, Wall Street firms didn't take out any loans, the fifth straight period of no action. Their borrowing, however, averaged as high as $38.1 billion a day over the course of a week in early April. The situation raised fears that other Wall Street firms might be in jeopardy.

Associated Press

Plan to salvage Alitalia includes 3,250 layoffs

A plan to salvage the profitable part of Alitalia will include 3,250 layoffs, Italy's labor minister said yesterday, as key discussions with unions on the future of the bankrupt airline continued. Maurizio Sacconi indicated that jobs would be lost both at the national carrier and at its Italian rival Air One, which is expected to be merged with Alitalia. "Those who have presented the offer estimate that out of 17,500 structurally employed by Alitalia and Air One, 14,250 should be re-employed," Sacconi told reporters.

Associated Press

30-year mortgages dip to 6.35 percent

WASHINGTON : Rates on 30-year mortgages fell for a third straight week, dropping to the lowest level since mid-July. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported yesterday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 6.35 percent this week, down from 6.40 percent, the previous week. It marked the third consecutive decline and left rates at the lowest level since July 17, when they stood at 6.26 percent. The 30-year mortgage, which hit a high for this year at 6.63 percent July 24, has been above 6 percent since late May as financial markets have become convinced that rising inflation pressures will keep the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates further. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac, attributed this week's decline to recent reports indicating that consumer spending might slow further.

Associated Press

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