IN BRIEF

DETROIT

Ford Motor said to plan 4,200 more job cuts

Ford Motor Co. has said that it wants to cut its blue-collar work force by another 4,200 employees, according to a person briefed on a presentation to union officials.

The automaker is offering buyout and early retirement packages at manufacturing operations in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana as it continues efforts to trim its factory ranks to match lower demand for its products.

Ford has declined to publicly state a target number, but Joe Hinrichs, group vice president of global manufacturing, told union officials the company has 4,200 more blue collar workers than it needs, according to the person briefed on the presentation.

The meeting with top local officials of the United Auto Workers union took place Tuesday and Wednesday.

HOUSTON

Hurricane Ike causes spike in gasoline costs

The wholesale price for gasoline produced on the Gulf Coast jumped about 30 percent on the spot market Thursday as Hurricane Ike churned toward Texas and its massive petroleum refining infrastructure.

The wholesale price for a gallon of gasoline rose about $1 to $4.25 on Thursday morning, topping the high price five years ago when hurricanes Katrina and Rita raked the Gulf Coast, said Tom Kloza, publisher of the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J.

The average national retail price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was at $3.671 on Thursday, up a couple of cents in the past two days, auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express reported.

That all changed on the wholesale market Thursday, Kloza said, from concerns about the potential damage Ike may cause to refineries along the Texas coast.

WASHINGTON

Banks borrow more from Fed program

Banks borrowed more over the past week from the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending program, while Wall Street firms took a pass for the sixth week in a row.

A Fed report released Thursday said commercial banks averaged $19.8 billion in daily borrowing over the past week. That compared with a daily average of $18.98 billion in the previous week.

For the week ending Sept. 10, Wall Street firms didn’t take out any loans. Their borrowing, however, averaged as high as $38.1 billion a day over the course of a week in early April.

Zions Bancorporation raises $250 million

Zions Bancorporation, the holding company for Nevada State Bank and banks in other Southwestern states, said Thursday that it raised $250 million through the sale of additional shares.

It issued 7.2 million shares at an average price of $34.75.

Zions shares rose $1.04, or 3.19 percent, Thursday to close at $33.62 on the Nasdaq National Market.

WILMINGTON, Del.

Lawsuit against AIG’s former execs settled

Attorneys for a Louisiana pension fund reached a $115 million settlement Thursday in a shareholder lawsuit against former executives of insurance giant American International Group Inc.

The settlement was reached just days before trial was to begin in a lawsuit challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in commissions paid by AIG to C.V. Starr & Co., a privately held affiliate controlled by former AIG Chairman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg and other AIG directors.

In a complaint filed in 2002, attorneys representing the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana alleged that New York-based AIG could have done the work for which it paid Starr, and that the commissions were simply a mechanism for Greenberg and other Starr directors to line their pockets.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said the settlement includes a $29.5 million payment from Greenberg and three other individual defendants, with the remaining $85.5 million covered by liability insurance.

NEW YORK

Falling oil prices push dollar up against euro

The dollar rose to its highest level in nearly a year against the euro Thursday, even as the U.S. trade deficit for July soared. Falling oil prices helped support the buck.

The 15-nation euro fell to $1.3951 in late New York trading from $1.4033 the night before. Europe’s common currency dropped as low as $1.3881 for the session, a point not seen since late September 2007.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Thursday that the country’s trade deficit shot up in July to the highest level in 16 months, offsetting strong export growth. The deficit with China climbed to its second-highest level on record.

Gold fell below $750 an ounce, marking the longest slump in eight years, as the dollar’s surge reduced demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment. Gold fell $16.60 to close at $741.30.

KANSAS CITY, Mo.

Bakery company wants more time and money

The maker of Hostess Twinkies and Wonder Bread is asking a bankruptcy judge to grant it more time and money as it seeks to reach a deal with a potential investor.

The Kansas City-based Interstate Bakeries filed a motion Wednesday seeking to borrow an additional $79 million under its debtor-in-possession financing.

The current financing package is worth $250 million and is set to expire Sept. 30.

Interstate Bakeries, which operates a Wonder Bread-Hostess bakery in Henderson, also wants to push back the deadline to Feb. 7.

A hearing on the request is scheduled for today.

SUNNYVALE, Calif.

Yahoo preparing to tweak parts of site

Yahoo Inc. is preparing to tweak several popular sections of its Web site, including its home page, during the next few months to accommodate more material from rival services as the Internet company tries to polish its tarnished franchise.

Yahoo plans to open up more with the first major redesign of its home page since May 2006. The changes will enable Yahoo users to plant more mini-applications known as “widgets” on personalized versions of the home page, said Ash Patel, executive vice president of the company’s audience product division.

Patel declined to specify when the redesigned page will be unveiled.

NEW YORK

As stocks bounce back, Treasury prices mixed

Government bonds ended narrowly mixed Thursday, giving up moderate gains after a big comeback in the stock market.

In late trading, the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slid 0.09 points to 102.94. Its yield edged up to 3.64 percent from 3.63 percent late Wednesday, according to BGCantor Market Data.

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