Price names successor for fixed-income division

Baltimore money manager T. Rowe Price Group said Monday that its global head of trading will take over for Mary J. Miller, director of the nearly $100 billion fixed-income division, who is stepping down Friday because she has been nominated for a Treasury Department job. Mike Gitlin, who has more than 16 years of experience with global capital markets, joined T. Rowe Price in 2007. Miller - nominated in October - needs U.S. Senate approval to become the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial markets.

- Jamie Smith Hopkins

Construction begins on UM student housing

Star Development Group of Columbia broke ground Monday for Starview Plaza, a $33 million student housing project at 8700 Baltimore Ave. in College Park. When complete in August 2011, the project will contain 172 residences providing housing for 669 undergraduate students at the University of Maryland, College Park plus 351 parking spaces, 9,500 square feet of retail space, 7,000 square feet for student amenities and a 10,000-square-foot green roof. A 94-unit, 369-bed first phase is slated to open by the end of 2010. Hord Coplan Macht of Baltimore is the architect. Financing comes from a consortium of credit unions led by the State Employees Credit Union of Maryland. Star Development is a division of Star Global Ventures of Columbia.

- Edward Gunts

Ciena shares fall as it's dropped from S&P; 500

NEW YORK - Shares of Linthicum-based Ciena Corp. took a hit Monday after Standard & Poor's announced the telecommunications equipment maker would be replaced by Visa Inc. on the S&P; 500 index. S&P; said Friday that Visa would take Ciena's place on the index Dec. 18 because Ciena is one of several companies in the index no longer representative of the market indicator. Dynegy Inc., KB Home Inc. and Convergys Corp. are being dropped from the S&P; 500, too. Ciena provides communications networking equipment, software and services. Last week it posted a wider-than-expected loss for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year as costs more than offset strong revenue. The company is also in the process of acquiring assets from Nortel Networks Corp. for $530 million.

- Associated Press

Exxon Mobil makes $29B bet on natural gas

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is making a $29 billion bet that pressure to curb climate change will mean natural gas - cleaner than coal and suddenly much easier to reach - will become a crucial source of U.S. power. Exxon agreed to buy XTO Energy in an all-stock deal at a 25 percent premium, showing how eagerly a company that is among the most conservative in a conservative industry is jumping into the natural gas market. The deal announced Monday was also the largest for the U.S. energy sector in at least four years and Exxon's biggest acquisition since it bought Mobil Corp. for $75 billion in 1999.

- Associated Press

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