In brief


NEW YORK

Growth in overseas markets helps lift profits for H.J. Heinz

H.J. Heinz Co.'s second-quarter net income rose 9 percent, helped by growth in overseas markets such as Latin America, more demand for its ketchup and price increases.

The maker of Classico pasta sauce and Ore-Ida potatoes said Friday that net income rose to $251.4 million, or 78 cents per share. That's up from $231.4 million, or 73 cents per share, in the same period last year. That beat analyst expectations of 76 cents per share, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Foreign currency exchange hurt net income by 3 cents per share. Higher selling prices and cost cuts helped offset rising prices for ingredients.

Revenue fell 1 percent to $2.61 billion, short of analyst predictions of $2.67 billion.

DETROIT

General Motors' stock rises for second straight trading day

General Motors' stock rose the second day it traded as it rebounded from an early swoon.

The automaker's stock climbed 7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to close at $34.26 on Friday, one day after it began trading on Wall Street again, signaling the rebirth of an American corporate icon that collapsed into bankruptcy and was rescued with a $50 billion infusion from taxpayers.

As trading began Friday, GM's stock dropped $1.08 to $33.11 as investors sold it to lock in profits. But buying returned and gradually lifted the stock until it passed Thursday's closing price of $34.19 near the end of the day.

GM stock was traded more than 107 million times, less than one-quarter of the volume traded Thursday.

GM made a successful return to the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, at least by some measures. After being priced at $33 a share in the IPO, it opened at $35. It ended the day up 3.6 percent after trading as high as $35.99 in the first few minutes of trading. Almost 457 million GM shares traded, about one-tenth of all shares trading on the exchange.

SAN FRANCISCO

Earnings news, forecast help send Salesforce's stock higher

A hot high-tech concept known as "cloud computing" is lifting Salesforce.com Inc.'s stock to lofty heights.

The shares rocketed more than 18 percent Friday after Salesforce issued a strong third-quarter earnings report and an optimistic management forecast that convinced several analysts that the stock is bound to climb even higher. As it is, Salesforce in nearly 6½ years as a public company is proving to be more fruitful than high-tech darling Google.

A $10,000 investment in Salesforce's June 2004 initial public offering would now be worth $124,000 after Friday's surge left shares with a gain of 85 percent so far this year.

A $10,000 investment in Google's August 2004 IPO would be worth about $70,000.

Salesforce shares soared $20.97, or 18.11 percent, Friday to close at $136.74 after hitting a record high of $137.31 earlier in the session.

The run-up has left Salesforce with an exceptionally high price-to-earnings, or "p/e," ratio, a widely used yardstick for assessing a company's value.

Based on its projected earnings for fiscal 2012, Salesforce's p/e is 90; Google's is 18.

An extremely high p/e ratio sometimes signals investors are becoming irrationally exuberant about a company's prospects, but most analysts don't seem to believe that is happening with Salesforce.

NEW YORK

Wells Fargo will pay Citigroup $100 million to settle claims

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $100 million to Citigroup to settle all claims in a dispute related to its 2008 acquisition of Wachovia Corp.

Wachovia nearly collapsed in October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, under the weight of losses from real estate loans that went bad.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank initially agreed to be bought by Citigroup Inc. with help from the U.S. government.

However, Wells Fargo & Co. came in with a higher offer days later and managed to grab Wachovia away from Citi.

Citigroup sued in a New York court soon thereafter.

WASHINGTON

Three more bank closures put U.S. total at 149 for 2010

Regulators have shut down three banks in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, lifting to 149 the number of U.S. banks that have failed this year as soured loans have piled up and the economy has limped.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Gulf State Community Bank in Carrabelle, Fla., with $112.1 million in assets; Allegiance Bank of North America in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., with $106.6 million in assets; and First Banking Center, based in Burlington, Wis., with $750.7 million in assets.

Centennial Bank, based in Conway, Ark., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Gulf State Community Bank. Vist Bank, based in Wyomissing, Pa., is acquiring the assets and deposits of Allegiance Bank, while First Michigan Bank, based in Troy, Mich., is assuming the assets and deposits of First Banking Center.

 

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