Tourism conference canceled for Nevada

An annual conference focusing on Nevada’s tourism industry — the lifeline of the state’s visitor-driven economy — has been canceled abruptly because of the financial crisis.

“It’s a huge deal and it was an extremely difficult decision to make,” Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said Wednesday.

“This conference was going to lose money and essentially by canceling, we are losing less money than if we went forward.”

As lieutenant governor, Krolicki is head of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, which hosts the conference. This year’s event, which had been scheduled for Dec. 8-9, would have marked the 25th annual conference that is held alternately in Southern and Northern Nevada.

Ex-Labor secretary will speak at Preview

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich will deliver the keynote speech at Preview Las Vegas, an economic-forecasting event scheduled for Jan. 29.

Reich served as Labor chief under President Clinton. While heading the department, Reich oversaw implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Act and launched job-training programs and school-to-work initiatives. Hearst Newspapers named him the Clinton administration’s most effective cabinet secretary in 1996.

Reich now serves on President-elect Barack Obama’s Transition Economic Advisory Board.

Preview Las Vegas is a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce event held annually at the Cox Pavilion inside the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Tickets, exhibitor booths and sponsorships are available online at or 641-5822.


Ford Motor planning to boost truck output

Ford Motor Co. plans to increase production of its F-150 pickup trucks at its Kansas City-area assembly plant as truck sales remain a bright spot in the otherwise dreary automotive industry.

Angie Kozleski, a spokeswoman for the Dearborn, Mich.-based company, said Ford will add a second shift to the production of F-150s during the week of Jan. 12. The 800 workers affected are currently one of three shifts making Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, small sport utility vehicles.

Ford on Tuesday said light truck sales for its namesake Ford brand, Lincoln and Mercury were off 29 percent last month compared with November 2007, while the three brands’ car sales were down 32 percent.

Melco Crown will offer workers unpaid leave

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., the Macau casino venture backed by billionaire James Packer and gambling magnate Stanley Ho’s son, will offer staff unpaid leave as a recession and travel restrictions dampen betting in the city.

Employees will be given as many as three days of unpaid leave each month and sabbaticals, the company said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. The measures become effective this month.

Macau casino operators face falling revenue next year on China’s cooling economy and because of mainland travel caps that have hit visitor numbers.

Neuberger Berman fund unit sold off

Executives of Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc.’s investment-management unit won an auction to buy the business, including the Neuberger Berman fund division, from the bankrupt securities firm. Terms weren’t disclosed.

The group, including Lehman executive George Walker, beat out a previous bid of $2.15 billion by private-equity firms Bain Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC. The buyers will own 51 percent of the new company and Lehman will keep 49 percent, they said Wednesday in a statement.

Pratt & Whitney lays off about 350 workers

Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney laid off about 350 employees across the country Wednesday amid concerns that airlines may delay or cancel orders as the global economy slows.

The cuts will affect less than 1 percent of the company’s work force of more than 38,000 employees, and will take effect immediately, Jennifer Whitlow, a spokeswoman said.

Paramount Bank announces merger

Paramount Bank of Nevada said Wednesday that it will merge with a similarly named bank based in Farmington Hills, Mich.

The merger is expected to close by the end of the month.

Paramount, which has offices at 7795 W. Sahara Ave., will no longer be a Nevada-chartered bank but will remain as a loan production office for commercial loans. It will stop accepting deposits after the merger, Chief Executive Paul Kadavy said.

Depositors may withdraw their money or become customers of the Michigan bank. The Nevada bank has $30 million in assets and will add $10.4 million in capital to the Michigan bank.


Treasury prices rise, pushing yields lower

Treasury yields, some of the most sensitive barometers of investor sentiment, keep dropping to new record lows as a torrent of bad economic news continues.

The 10-year Treasury note rose 0.28 points to 109.38 and yielded 2.67 percent, down from 2.69 percent.

The 30-year Treasury bond rose 0.38 points to 125.31 and yielded 3.17 percent, down from 3.19 percent.


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