Federal agency also a stock market loser

The federal agency charged with backstopping pension benefits for 44 million Americans lost almost $5 billion from investments in stocks in the budget year that ended Sept. 30, the agency head acknowledged Friday.

The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. will lose 6 percent to 7 percent on its entire investment portfolio, PBGC Director Charles Millard told the House Education and Labor Committee. It lost a significantly higher percentage of its investments in equities.

The PBGC has assets of $68 billion and liabilities of $83 billion. Millard said that over the long term, a new policy of creating a more diversified portfolio of 45 percent stocks, 45 percent bonds and 10 percent in alternative investments will produce better returns that give the agency a 57 percent chance to climb out of its deficit hole within a decade.

VIENNA, Austria

OPEC cuts production; crude still tumbles

OPEC’s attempt to stem a free fall in oil prices fizzled Friday as global economic fears pushed crude down to lows last seen 15 months ago.

Prices slumped even as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries gathered for an emergency meeting in Vienna to announce it would slash production by a daily 1.5 million barrels. And if OPEC members under quota stop overproduction, reduction will be even higher — around 1.8 million barrels a day.

Planet Hollywood taps exec for new company

Richard P. Brown was named president and chief executive officer of Planet Hollywood Resorts Worldwide, a new company created to expand the Planet Hollywood brand in hospitality and casinos domestically and internationally.

Planet Hollywood restaurant founder Robert Earl is co-owner of Planet Hollywood Resort on the Strip, which is held separately from his restaurant interests.

Brown is former president and CEO of American Casino and Entertainment Properties, owner of the Stratosphere, both Arizona Charlie’s properties and the Aquarius in Laughlin.

He quit his position in April after the company was sold by Carl Ichan to Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds.


Measure that bag; it might be too big

If you’ve squeezed a large carry-on bag aboard a Continental flight, you might want to measure that bag before your next trip to make sure it’s still legal.

Beginning Nov. 1, Continental Airlines Inc. will reduce the maximum size allowed for carry-ons to 45 linear inches — the sum of the bag’s length, width and height — down from 51 inches.

Continental spokeswoman Julie King said the change is being made to align policies of the Houston-based airline with those of its alliance partner airlines, including Delta, Northwest and Air France-KLM.

Passengers sometimes book a single ticket that involves travel on Continental and one of its partner airlines, which means customers could carry the bag on one leg of a trip but be forced to check it on the next.

King said there was no link between the change in carry-on policy and Continental’s recent decision to charge customers $15 for checking a first bag.


Longer-term Treasurys post mixed results

Longer-term Treasurys were mixed Friday.

The 10-year note fell 0.22 points to 102.31 and yielded 3.72 percent, up from 3.66 percent.

The 30-year bond fell 0.78 points to 106.84 and yielded 4.10 percent, up from 4.05 percent.

The 30-year bond yield fell as low as 3.88 percent, the lowest point since the Treasury began issuing the bond regularly in 1977.

The three-month T-bill’s yield fell to 0.82 percent, down from 0.94 percent Thursday.

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