AP Business NewsBrief at 11:07 p.m. EDT
(AP Online Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) UAW Leader Wants Deal Without a StrikeDETROIT (AP) _ United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger told members Friday that he is trying to speed up negotiations with General Motors Corp. and he wants to reach a contract agreement without a strike. "We are continuing to make progress; however, we are pushing to accelerate the negotiating pace at all levels," he said in a message to UAW members. "It is our desire to reach an agreement without a strike, and we have demonstrated this by staying at the bargaining table up to this point."
Equity Firms Back Out of Harmon BuyoutWASHINGTON (AP) _ Two private equity firms on Friday backed out of their $8 billion buyout of upscale audio equipment maker Harman International Industries Inc., marking the latest such deal to sour amid tightening global credit conditions. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s private equity unit told the company they are under no obligation to complete the merger because "a material adverse change" in its business had occurred, Harman said in a statement.
Stocks End Higher After Oracle EarningsNEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks rose soundly Friday, capping a strong week for Wall Street, as investors drew confidence from strong results at Oracle Corp. and a continued sense that lower interest rates should help bolster the economy. Oracle's report that quarterly profits rose 25 percent as sales grew at their fastest pace in seven years offered fresh evidence that some sectors of the economy continue to hum along even as areas such as housing cause consternation for many investors.
TJX Settles Customer Class Action SuitsBOSTON (AP) _ The TJX Companies, Inc., a discount retailer, said Friday it settled customer class action lawsuits in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico stemming from a massive security breach of customer data that affected at least 45 million credit and debit cards. The announcement did not specify the settlement cost, but noted that its estimated costs were included in a $107 million reserve included in its second-quarter report for fiscal 2008 and its estimate of $21 million in costs expected in fiscal 2009. The $107 million figure includes costs from other lawsuits not included in the customer class actions, the Framingham-based company said.
Mattel Apologizes to China Over RecallsLOS ANGELES (AP) _ Mattel Inc. tried to save face Friday with Chinese officials, taking the blame for the recent recalls of millions of Chinese-made toys as it strives to mend a strained relationship with the nation that makes most of its toys and fattens its profit. The world's largest toy maker sent a top executive to personally apologize to China's product safety chief, Li Changjang, as reporters and company lawyers looked on.
Home Depot CEO Says No Job Cuts PlannedATLANTA (AP) _ The Home Depot Inc. doesn't plan to make any broad-based job cuts or reduce the number of its core retail stores in the face of a persistent housing slump that isn't expected to improve anytime soon, Chief Executive Frank Blake said Friday. Blake told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that the Atlanta-based company's focus on customer service means more employees, not fewer, will be needed. "We're making investments, notwithstanding the downturn," Blake said. "I think that's absolutely the right thing to do for the business. It's going to lead to long-term success."
Google's Stock Price Soars to New HighSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google Inc.'s stock reached a new high Friday, reflecting Wall Street's renewed faith in the Internet search leader as it introduces new ways for advertisers to reach its steadily expanding online audience. The shares peaked at $560.79 before falling back to finish at $560.10, up $7.27, or 1.3 percent. The rally eclipsed Google's previous record high of $558.58 attained in mid-July, just days before the Mountain View-based company disillusioned investors with a second-quarter profit below analyst estimates.
Baby Cribs Recalled After 3 DeathsWASHINGTON (AP) _ About 1 million Simplicity and Graco cribs have been recalled after three children became entrapped and suffocated. The recall was announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Friday, more than two years after a California lawyer says he alerted the federal agency about a 9-month-old who died in a faulty crib. "Two years and two deaths is not fast enough. It's inexcusable that it took that long," said Charles Kelly, who represents the parents of the 9-month-old. Liam Johns of Citrus Heights, Calif., died in April 2005.
Dollar Tumbles to New Low Vs. the EuroNEW YORK (AP) _ The dollar hit a new low against the seemingly unstoppable euro Friday as the 13-nation currency broke through $1.41. The euro's ascension renewed calls from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the European Central Bank to follow the Federal Reserve and cut interest rates, which would help keep French exports competitive. Despite the worries of some exporters _ European aircraft maker Airbus said if the euro keeps rising it may have to seek new cost savings _ ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood firm that the ECB must remain independent.
Oracle Churns Out Another Strong QuarterSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Melding a hodgepodge of different software makers into a cohesive business is supposed to be difficult. But Oracle Corp. is making the task look easy as the Redwood Shores-based company churns out one impressive quarter after another, nearly three years into a $25-billion shopping spree that is yielding bigger dividends than many skeptical software analysts and executives anticipated. The latest gains surfaced late Thursday when Oracle reported that fiscal first quarter software sales accelerated at the fastest clip in seven years.
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