Walgreen earnings rise 5 percent in quarter

Walgreen posted a 5 percent increase in second-quarter profits that just beat Wall Street’s expectations, but investors greeted the news Monday with enthusiasm, driving the share price sharply higher.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based drugstore chain said improved cost controls helped offset sluggish holiday sales.

Walgreen reported earnings of $685.9 million, or 69 cents per share, up from $651.9 million, or 65 cents, a year ago.

Sales rose 10.5 percent to $15.39 billion, from $13.93 billion.


Nevada Power, others plan recovery plant

The electric utility serving Las Vegas and two other companies on Monday announced plans to build a 6 megawatt, waste-heat recovery plant 35 miles south of Las Vegas.

Nevada Power Co. proposes to use waste heat from the Goodsprings compressor station site of Kern River Gas Transmission Co.

Kern River operates the similarly named interstate natural gas pipeline. The compressor station allows the pipeline to carry more gas.

Ormat Technologies, a Reno-based company that develops geothermal power plants in Northern Nevada, would build the waste-heat recovery station.

Ormat has developed technology that converts waste heat from plants, such as the compressor station on the gas pipeline, to make electricity.

The project is scheduled to be completed by 2010.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Nevada Power needs Public Utilities Commission approval to proceed with the project.


Indictments made in mortgage scheme

Federal prosecutors on Monday announced indictments in a mortgage scheme they say victimized more than 100 homeowners and siphoned off nearly $13 million in home equity.

Dozens of people in California and elsewhere lost their homes in the scam, which prosecutors said was led by Charles Head of La Habra. He and 18 others face allegations that they preyed on homeowners who were struggling to make payments on adjustable-rate and other mortgages.

Under the scam, homeowners facing foreclosure were promised lower house payments and even cash upfront to help pay bills if they agreed to add another name to their home’s title, prosecutors said. The victims were led to believe they were paying rent to the investor while they got their finances back in order, prosecutors added.

Head faces charges of money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy


Billionaire investor seeks document access

Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor fighting for board seats at Motorola, demanded access to documents that detail the strategy for turning around the money-losing mobile-phone business.

Icahn filed a lawsuit Monday in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington to get the information from Motorola, the biggest U.S. mobile-phone maker. The company denied an earlier request for the documents, said Icahn, who has nominated four directors and lobbied for a spinoff of the handset unit.

Icahn declined to detail his discussions with Motorola. He turned down a Motorola offer of two board seats, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday on its Web site, citing an interview with him.


Truckers slow down as fuel costs increase

Coast-to-coast trucker Lorraine Dawson says fellow drivers used to call her "Lead Foot Lorraine." But with diesel fuel around $4 a gallon, she and other big-rig drivers have backed off their accelerators to conserve fuel.

"I used to be a speed demon but no more," said Dawson, based at Tacoma, Wash. "Most drivers have cut their speed considerably."

Truckers and industry officials say slowing a tractor-trailer rig from 75 mph to 65 mph increases fuel mileage by more than a mile a gallon, a significant bump for machines that get less than 10 miles per gallon hauling thousands of pounds of freight.

Even sitting still with the engine idling, a rig gulps about a gallon of diesel every hour.

"We just can’t afford it," Dawson said of diesel as she was topping off her fuel tanks at a Bismarck truck stop.

The nationwide average for a gallon of diesel on Thursday was $4.03, up from $2.74 one year earlier, AAA North Dakota spokesman Gene LaDoucer said.


Netflix deals with outage on Web site

Online DVD rental leader Netflix suffered a technology breakdown Monday that knocked out its Web site for about 11 hours, inconveniencing many of its 7.5 million subscribers.

The outage could mean some customers will have to wait longer than usual for their next rentals.

The trouble blocked access to Netflix’s Web site from about 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. PDT Monday, company spokesman Steve Swasey said.

It marked the second-longest disruption since Netflix launched its service nine years ago. Netflix’s Web site was down for more than 18 hours last July when the Los Gatos-based company lowered its prices.


3Com earnings top some Street forecasts

3Com Corp., the network-equipment maker whose acquisition by Bain Capital was scuttled by national security concerns, reported earnings that beat some analysts’ estimates.

Profit more than doubled to 8 cents a share, excluding a tax provision and stock-based compensation expenses, in the period ended Feb. 29. That topped the estimate of 2 cents from Inder Singh at Lehman Bros. Holdings in New York. Sales rose 4 percent to $336.4 million.

The company has lost more than $1 billion in market value since Boston-based Bain’s offer was first made public on Sept. 28.


Interest rates increase in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday’s auction to the highest levels since earlier this month.

The Treasury Department auctioned $24 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.2 percent, up from 1.1 percent last week. Another $22 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 1.55 percent, up from 1.31 percent last week.


As stocks head higher, Treasurys head down

Treasurys fell sharply Monday as another big gain in stocks encouraged investors to draw more money away from the safety of bonds.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 1.81 to 99.56, and yielded 3.55 percent, up from 3.34 percent late Thursday, according to BGCantor Market Data.

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