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IN BRIEF

Progressive Gaming loss widens in quarter

Progressive Gaming International Corp., a Las Vegas-based casino equipment provider, on Tuesday said its quarterly loss widened from a year earlier.

In a statement, the company said it lost $63.6 million, or $8.12 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with $39.7 million, or $8.29 per share, a year earlier.

Because of a 1-for-8 reverse stock split Sept. 15, there were approximately 7.8 million weighted average shares outstanding in September compared with 4.8 million in September 2007.

Revenue fell 25.1 percent to $13.7 million from $18.3 million.

Progressive Gaming shares fell 9 cents, or 56.3 percent, to close at 7 cents on the Nasdaq National Market.

SAN FRANCISCO

Yahoo faces questions as it looks for leader

With Jerry Yang quitting as Yahoo Inc.’s chief executive, the Internet company’s board will confront pivotal questions as it looks for a new leader.

Should Yahoo swallow its pride and try to strike a buyout deal with Microsoft Corp. at a price far below Microsoft’s $47.5 billion offer from 6 months ago? Or should Yahoo still pursue a long-awaited turnaround that’s becoming more difficult to achieve as the economy tanks?

If Yahoo plays it safe and hires someone from within or someone friendly with Microsoft, it could signal the board merely wants an interim captain who can steer the ship until Microsoft, or possibly another buyer, comes to the rescue.

But should Yahoo recruit a CEO with a prestigious resume or pluck an up-and-coming technology star, it will be seen as a sign that the company is digging in to remain independent for the long haul.

Auto show mood sours with industry in crisis

New cars are supposed to be the main attraction when the Los Angeles Auto Show opens today, but dreadful U.S. sales, bailout hearings in Congress and General Motors’ decision to all but pull out of the event are sure to be the elephants on the showroom floor.

“It’s like having a big Champagne party at a cancer victim’s funeral,” Rebecca Lindland, an auto analyst with the consulting firm IHS Global Insight, said of the show’s timing.

Auto shows are an important way for carmakers to reach out to consumers, particularly those in the market for a new car. Some two dozen cars will make North American debuts and several top automakers will unveil brand new models during the Los Angeles show’s media previews today and Thursday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio

Oil prices decline after gasoline cost report

Oil prices continued to fall Tuesday as a government report showed that gasoline prices in October plunged further than they ever have and home heating oil, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas fell substantially.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery fell 56 cents to settle at $54.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

MasterCard SpendingPulse reported Tuesday that even though consumption of gasoline for the weekend ended Friday was down 2.8 percent from a year ago, it was the smallest year-over-year decline in more than two months. Americans used about 100,000 more barrels per day of gasoline for the week than they did the previous week.

CHICAGO

Home Depot earnings surpass Street outlook

Home Depot Inc. gave investors a welcome surprise Tuesday, posting a better-than-expected third-quarter profit and offering Wall Street a second straight day of good news for the battered home improvement sector.

But the 31 percent drop in earnings still shows just how badly the chain has been pummeled by the economic meltdown — which executives warned was unlikely to abate anytime soon.

Home Depot’s profit tumbled to $756 million, or 45 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 2, down from $1.09 billion, or 60 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $17.78 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 38 cents per share on revenue of $17.74 billion.

DETROIT

Bank executive calls for ‘Big Two’ carmakers

The chief executive of a major U.S. bank that received $25 billion from the government’s financial bailout package said Tuesday that the financial prescription and the dosage shouldn’t be dispensed to the ailing Detroit Three automakers — unless they become the Detroit Two.

“I think there’s one too many” automakers, Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis told the Detroit Economic Club at Cobo Center, the downtown convention center that’s home to the North American International Auto Show each January.

He added he would require consolidation if he was deciding on a bailout.

On Nov. 7, GM said it suspended talks to acquire Chrysler from majority owner Cerberus Capital Management. GM said while the combination would save costs, it wanted to focus on its cash-flow issues.

Wholesale price news pushes bonds higher

Treasury bonds rose Tuesday after a government report showed that wholesale prices fell a record amount in October.

The 10-year note rose 0.94 points to 100.81 and yielded 3.53 percent, down from 3.66 percent.

The 30-year bond rose 1.03 points to 106.44 and yielded 4.12 percent, down from 4.20 percent.

 

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