The Baltimore Sun

Changes at the top for General Growth

General Growth Properties Inc., the Chicago-based shopping-mall owner whose shares have fallen 95 percent this year, replaced Chief Executive Officer John Bucksbaum, who resigned, with interim CEO Adam S. Metz. Bucksbaum, 52, will remain General Growth's chairman, the company said yesterday in a regulatory filing. Thomas H. Nolan Jr. will be interim president in place of Robert Michaels, who resigned from that post. Michaels will remain General Growth's chief operating officer and give up his seat on the company's board. General Growth's shares have tumbled on concerns that the company won't be able to refinance about $1.2 billion of debt due this year. The debt stems in part from its $11.3 billion purchase of Rouse Co. in 2004. General Growth suspended dividend payments this month and fired Chief Financial Officer Bernard Freibaum after he sold 2.95 million shares to meet margin calls on loans.

Bloomberg News

Carnival to begin cruises April 27

Carnival Cruise Lines will sail from the port of Baltimore beginning April 27, five months earlier than the carrier originally intended. The world's largest cruise line will also add 19 more sailings to its Baltimore schedule, bringing its total to 36. Carnival will operate six-, seven- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Baltimore between April 27 and September 6, 2009. A total of 79 cruises will sail from the port of Baltimore next year, up from 27 this year.

Political ads boost Sinclair broadcast sales

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the television station owner, said fourth-quarter revenue will decline less than had been projected because of last-minute political ads. Sales will fall at a low- to mid-single-digit rate, the Baltimore-based company said yesterday. On Oct. 13, the company had said revenue could fall as much as a high-single-digit percentage.

Bloomberg News

Sept. existing-home sales up 5.5 percent

WASHINGTON : Sales of existing homes rose by the largest amount in more than five years in September, a real estate trade group says. The data is a possible glimmer of hope that the housing slump could be starting to bottom out. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes rose by 5.5 percent in September compared with August, the best showing since a 5.6 percent increase in July 2003. But the median sales price has dropped to $191,600, down by 9 percent from a year ago.

Associated Press

Tentative settlement reported at Boeing

SEATTLE: A Machinists union spokesman has reported a tentative settlement to end a strike that has shut down Boeing Co.'s commercial airplane operations since Sept. 6. Francis "Frank" Larkin, a spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Washington, said the deal was reached yesterday evening. The apparent breakthrough came on the fifth day of talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in the nation's capital.

Associated Press

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