IN BRIEF

DENVER

Snowy winter spells success for ski resorts

Forget baseball and spring flowers. The nation’s ski resorts are all about skiing and snowboarding — still.

Snow fell Monday in parts of the country including Colorado and Vermont, capping a bountiful winter that could lead to a record-setting season for the $6 billion industry. A year ago, resorts posted a 7 percent drop in visitors nationwide because of a fickle winter.

The industry’s record for skier visits is 58.9 million, set in 2005-2006. A skier visit is an industry measure representing the sale and use of one lift ticket per day.

Vail Resorts, the nation’s largest ski operator, said skier visits at its five resorts fell 3.9 percent from November to Dec. 22. Katz said they have seen improvements in January and February but declined to release updated numbers.

Based in suburban Broomfield, Vail Resorts owns and operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge ski areas in Colorado, Heavenly in Nevada and California, and the lodge near Jackson, Wyo.

Black Gaming posts wider 12-month loss

Mesquite gaming operator Black Gaming posted a net loss of $17.2 million in 2007, 41 percent greater than its $12.2 million loss in 2006.

Net revenues decreased 3 percent to $163.2 million from $168.2 million in 2006.

Company cash flow ended the year at a loss of $1.6 million after accounting for operations, investing and financing activities.

In 2006, the company finished with a cash flow loss of $4.5 million

The company owns three of the four hotel-casinos in Mesquite: the CasaBlanca, Oasis and Virgin River.

Black Gaming will hold a conference call to discuss its earnings April 9.

NEW YORK

Citigroup taps banker to lead consumer unit

Citigroup named a veteran retail banker Monday to head its North American consumer banking unit, splitting it off from its credit-card business as Citi struggles to become profitable again after suffering its biggest quarterly loss in its 196-year history.

The latest move is the biggest sign yet that CEO Vikram Pandit, appointed in December, wants to fix Citi’s major parts rather than sell them off to raise cash — at least for now.

Pandit’s new hire, Teresa Dial, spent nearly three decades at Wells Fargo & Co., including serving as president and CEO of its Wells Fargo Bank subsidiary. Since June 2005, Dial has been leading the turnaround of Lloyds TSB Group PLC’s retail banking in the United Kingdom.

Caterpillar may boost prices as steel costs rise

Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of earth-moving and mining equipment, may increase prices worldwide by midyear because of rising steel costs, Chairman and CEO Jim Owens said.

The unexpected increase would add to the average 2 percent global price rise for the year that Caterpillar already announced, Owens told reporters in Beijing Monday.

U.S. steel prices will probably climb to an average $775 a ton in 2008, Goldman, Sachs & Co. said March 20.

RENO

Eldorado Resorts will buy Indiana riverboat

Reno-based Eldorado Resorts LLC has signed an agreement to buy a riverboat hotel-casino in Indiana from Tropicana Entertainment, the companies announced Monday.

Tropicana Entertainment LLC, based in Crestview Hills, Ky, agreed to sell its Casino Aztar in Evansville, Ind., to Eldorado for up to $245 million in a cash, financing and incentives deal.

Tropicana said it will use sale proceeds to reduce debt.

The sale is subject to approval by the Indiana Gaming Commission, which must license Eldorado before the deal can close.

Merck, Schering shares fall to record lows

Shares of Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. fell to record lows Monday, as analysts warned new clinical data would cause sales of their blockbuster cholesterol drug Vytorin to fall further.

The companies market Vytorin through a joint venture, but earlier this year, partial results from a clinical study showed that it was no more effective at limiting plaque buildup than Merck’s Zocor, a drug that is already available in generic form. Full results of that study were released Sunday.

Vytorin is a combination of Zocor and Schering-Plough’s drug Zetia.

Schering-Plough shares plunged as low as $14, touching their lowest levels since August 1996. Merck shares fell as low as $36.82, their lowest since June 2006.

Las Vegas Sands says finance chief resigns

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world’s largest casino company by market value, said Chief Financial Officer Robert Rozek resigned, effective May 23.

Las Vegas Sands is searching for a replacement, spokesman Ron Reese said Monday. He declined to say why the finance chief was leaving.

Rozek, a former controller for Eastman Kodak Co. and partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, joined Las Vegas Sands in 2006.

Las Vegas Sands shares rose 5 cents, or 0.07 percent, Monday to close at $73.64 on the New York Stock Exchange.

WASHINGTON

Interest rates mixed in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were mixed in Monday’s auction with three-month bills rising to the highest level in four weeks.

The Treasury Department auctioned $24 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.44 percent, up from 1.2 percent last week.

NEW YORK

Treasurys rally amid worries over plan

Treasury prices rallied Monday amid concerns that a Bush administration proposal to overhaul financial regulation won’t address the current credit crisis.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 0.25 points to 100.63 with a yield of 3.43 percent, down from 3.44 percent late Friday. .

The 30-year long bond rose 0.69 points to 101.28 with a yield of 4.30 percent, down from 4.33 percent late last week.

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