Top Headlines - part 61

Hawaii's Tourism Comeback Fueled By Air Travel

Hawaii's Tourism Comeback Fueled By Air Travel

BUSINESS

  • Tourism in Hawaii during recession plunged nearly 15% from 2007 to 2009
  • Hawaii’s tourism numbers now on upswing
  • Reasons for revival include new emphasis on air service and help from US government

The latest tourism statistics show that Hawaii’s visitor count was up by 4% in 2011 over the previous year, recording nearly 7.3 million visitors total.

During the recession, tourism in Hawaii plunged close to 15%, and though the new numbers are still short of the state’s record year in 2006, the outlook is good. "We have seen a healthy demand for Hawaii globally," says Mike McCartney, president of the state-run Hawaii Tourism Authority.

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US Adds Jobs, Unemployment Drops to 3-Year Low

US Adds Jobs, Unemployment Drops to 3-Year Low

ECONOMY

  • Unemployment drops to 8.3%, lowest since February 2009
  • Nasdaq Composite hits 11-year high; Treasury debt prices fall as investor expectations change
  • Political scientists expect employment news to boost Obama's campaign

The jobless rate in the US has dropped to 8.3%, marking the lowest rate in three years, according to US Labor Department data.

Growing at a rate of 200,000 jobs per month, the economy is looking up. Prior to the latest unemployment data, economists had expected stagnant employment growth in January.

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Japan's Big Electronic Manufacturers Register Record Financial Losses

Japan's Big Electronic Manufacturers Register Record Financial Losses

FINANCE

  • Panasonic could see losses of more than $9.2 billion
  • Sharp’s facing losses of $3.8 billion
  • Sony may lose upwards of $3 billion

Japanese electronics giants Panasonic, Sharp and Sony are all racing toward record loses for the fiscal year ending in March.

Losses can be attributed to competition from foreign rivals, especially South Korean-based Samsung Electronics, as well as weak demand for the trio’s televisions. The yen reached its highest post World War II value in October 2011, and the strength of the currency is eroding away at the profit of Japanese exporters.

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Dassault Secures Multi-Billion Dollar Contract To Build Jets For India Air Force

Dassault Secures Multi-Billion Dollar Contract To Build Jets For India Air Force

BUSINESS

  • Dassault wins a near $11 billion deal to build 126 India aircraft vehicles
  • Lower pricing and India’s familiarity with French warplanes said to be contributing factors in France’s win
  • Britain disappointed by India’s offer to Dassault, asks them to reconsider

In what is being dubbed the biggest fighter deal in the world since the early 1990s, French air craft manufacturer Dassault has won a contract to build 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Rafale fighter jets for the Indian air force, totaling nearly $11 billion.

However, a defense ministry source indicated that with the necessary training and maintenance the entire deal could reach at least $15 billion. In a statement from an Indian government source: "France's Dassault has emerged as the lowest bidder, and further commercial negotiations will take place with the company before signing a formal deal.”

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Making History: Facebook Files for IPO

Making History: Facebook Files for IPO

FINANCE

  • Facebook could be largest technology IPO debut in US history; also 6th largest IPO overall in US and 15th worldwide
  • Facebook market cap could reach between $75 billion and $100 billion
  • Majority of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising

Facebook Inc. has filed paperwork with regulators for inclusion on a US stock exchange. The online social network did not list an exchange but did file for the ticker “FB”.

In the filing, Facebook said it hopes to raise $5 billion; however, some analysts say that figure is more likely $100 billion. It will take months before the final figure is set.

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Amgen Looks to Micromet Deal to Solidify Stake in Cancer-Fighting Industry

Amgen Looks to Micromet Deal to Solidify Stake in Cancer-Fighting Industry

BUSINESS

  • Amgen to buy Micromet for $1 billion  
  • Amgen interested in Micromet oncology treatments, namely leukemia drug blinatumomab
  • Roche and Celgene also seeking biotechnology acquisitions

Amgen Inc., one of the largest biotechnology firms in the world, has struck deal for over $1 billion to purchase Rockville, MD-based biotechnology firm Micromet. For $11 a share, Amgen will add Micromet pharmaceuticals such as blinatumomab, a leukemia drug in Phase 2 trials, to its repertoire of oncology treatments. 

Blinatumomab is presently being tested for effectiveness at curbing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lymphoblastic leukemia. June 2011 trials found 9 out of 12 patients on the drug went into full remission from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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India Gets a Sip of Starbucks Through Cafe Joint Venture With Tata Global Beverages

India Gets a Sip of Starbucks Through Cafe Joint Venture With Tata Global Beverages

BUSINESS

  • Starbucks invests $80 million in joint venture with Tata Global Beverages 
  • Coffee purchases in India account for $667 million in sales annually
  • Tata exports to 85 countries and has $83.3 billion in revenue

Starbucks is forming a joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, a Tata Group company, to open cafes in India, starting in September 2012 in Delhi and Mumbai.

The joint venture, known as Tata Starbucks Ltd., will be responsible for the operation of Indian Starbucks Cafes, and the cafes will be co-branded “Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance.”

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BP, Chevron Losing Oil Spill Battles

BP, Chevron Losing Oil Spill Battles

WORLD

  • BP denied right to collect payment from Transocean to help fund $40 billion needed to clean up Gulf Oil spill 
  • BP required to indemnify Transocean for compensatory damages 
  • Chevron fined $50 million, drilling license suspended due to recent oil spill in Brazil

A US district court judge has ruled that BP Plc cannot collect funds from Swiss-based offshore drilling contractor Transocean Ltd. as reimbursement for billions used to clean up the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP filed a lawsuit in April 2011 alleging Transocean was responsible for paying part of the $40 billion needed for clean up and economic losses.

Judge Carl Barbier wrote in his 30-page decision: “BP is required to indemnify Transocean for compensatory damages asserted by third parties against Transocean related to pollution that did not originate on or above the surface of the water, even if the claim is the result of Transocean’s strict liability.”

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Tourism: How Much Will Airline Tickets Go Up This Year?

Tourism: How Much Will Airline Tickets Go Up This Year?

BUSINESS

  • Airfares predicted to rise in 2012, though how much remains unclear
  • Many airlines cutting back flights, reducing available seats
  • Price of oil most important factor in airfare cost fluxuation

Considering the current state of the economy, travel and tourism industry analysts say airfares will go up in 2012, though it is hard to pin point just how much they will rise. 

Looking at the past, airline prices are always going up. “After all, the airlines attempted to raise prices 22 times in 2011 (and nine of those attempts were successful),” says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare. “The one thing everyone wants to know is whether fares will keep going up. We have seen plenty of increases in 2011, but will that continue?"

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Pharma Buyout Bid: Roche Offers $5.7 Billion for Illumina

Pharma Buyout Bid: Roche Offers $5.7 Billion for Illumina

FINANCE

  • Roche puts forth another offer to buy Illumina at $44.30 per share
  • Offer 50 times greater than Illumina’s earnings between Sept. 2010 - Sept. 2011
  • Bid part of Roche’s plan to increase cancer drug sales

Swiss-owned pharmaceutical giant Roche has plans to take over San Diego-based Illumina Inc, which focuses on gene-sequencing. The announcement comes after Illumina rejected previous offers from Roche to negotiate a buyout.

Roche proposes to purchase all Illumina common stock at a price of $44.30 per share, which places Illumina’s value at $5.7 billion. According to Bloomberg, this is 32 times greater than the $1.39 per share predicted by analysts this year.

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