Foxwoods vote may lead unionization push

The election victory by the United Auto Workers to represent dealers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino will lead to intensified efforts to organize other Indian-run casinos in the United States, a top union official said Monday.

With union membership at historically low levels, organized labor sees the profitable and growing number of casinos as fertile territory to increase its presence.

“I do think this will embolden workers at tribal casinos around the nation,” said Elizabeth Bunn, secretary-treasurer of the UAW in Detroit.

She would not say whether the union is working on other casino organizing drives.

Countrywide falls after call for investigation

Countrywide Financial Corp. fell more than 10 percent in New York Stock Exchange trading after U.S. Senator Charles Schumer urged the Federal Home Loan Bank system to investigate cash advances to the largest U.S. mortgage lender.

Schumer said he was alarmed by the volume of advances the system’s Atlanta bank has made to Countrywide considering “the rapid deterioration” in the credit quality of some of the Calabasas, California-based company’s mortgages. Schumer expressed his concerns in a letter sent Monday to Federal Housing Finance Board Chairman Ronald Rosenfeld.

The Atlanta bank has made $51.1 billion in advances to Countrywide as of Sept. 30, representing 37 percent of the bank’s total outstanding advances, Schumer wrote, citing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.


Airbus signs deal to sell 160 passenger jets

Airbus said it signed contracts Monday to sell 160 commercial passenger jets to China in a deal worth around $14.8 billion.

The order includes 110 of the European company’s A320 jets and 50 of the slightly larger A330 planes, Airbus officials said in Beijing, where they were accompanying French President Nicolas Sarkozy on his first state visit to the Asian trading giant.

Airbus and Chinese partners this summer signed an agreement to produce A320s in China in anticipation of large Chinese orders for the popular single aisle jet that seats 150 or more passengers. Size-wise, the plane is well-suited for Chinese domestic routes expected to show strong growth in the years ahead as the economy continues to expand.

New York Fed to move to increase liquidity

The New York Federal Reserve announced Monday it was implementing several measures to increase liquidity in the parched credit markets ahead of the year’s end.

The New York Fed’s moves included increasing the amount of funds that dealers can tap through the bank’s open market account securities lending program and making an unusual long agreement to buy back securities to cover the year end.

The changes will allow dealers to tap the New York Fed’s System Open Market Account program to borrow up to $750 million per issue — up from a prior cap of $500 million per issue. The New York Fed carries out monetary policy for the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The changes also will let dealers use the Fed program for funds to buy securities with maturities of more than six days.


Ex-Brocade exec said to have role in scheme

Prosecutors argued Monday that a former Brocade Communications Systems executive was a key enforcer in an illegal accounting scheme, while her attorney said she was just following instructions when she backdated stock options.

Stephanie Jensen, Brocade’s former vice president of human resources, went on trial Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on felony charges of conspiracy and falsifying corporate records. If convicted, she faces up to 25 years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Reeves said Jensen instructed her staff to choose favorable dates in the past for stock options awards and warned them never to communicate by e-mail about the company’s stock option activities.


Sears to buy rest of Restoration Hardware

Sears Holdings Corp. said Monday it was prepared to buy out the rest of retro-themed retailer Restoration Hardware for a nickel-per-share premium over a competing offer, a move that could help the chain spruce up its merchandise lines.

Sears, which already owns 13.7 percent of the home-goods company, said it has repeatedly asked for access to Restoration Hardware’s confidential financial information and would make a binding offer if those details are provided. But so far the Corte Madera, Calif.-based company has rebuffed those requests.

Sears’ tentative offer of $6.75 per share, made public Monday in a regulatory filing, is less than 1 percent above a dueling bid from private equity firm Catterton Partners.

MELBOURNE, Australia

Rio Tinto outlines plan to lift iron-ore output

Rio Tinto Ltd. outlined a conceptual plan to boost annual iron-ore output to 600 million metric tons and committed $2.4 billion to develop iron ore deposits Monday, ahead of an investor briefing in London.

Rio Tinto is laying out new justifications for rejecting a $150 billion takeover bid from rival BHP Billiton Ltd. that would create global mining behemoth.

Chief Executive Tom Albanese said the full value of the company’s assets was yet to be reflected in the market.


Interest rates decline in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday’s auction, with rates on six-month bills dipping to the lowest level in more than two years.

The Treasury Department auctioned $22 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 3.175 percent, down from 3.390 percent last week. Another $20 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 3.34 percent, down from 3.46 percent last week.


Feds won’t prosecute former Delphi execs

The U.S. Justice Department has decided not to prosecute nine former Delphi Corp. executives after investigating allegations of accounting fraud at the Troy, Mich.-based auto supplier, the department said in a newly released letter to a federal judge.

The department had been investigating the Delphi executives, including former Chairman and CEO J.T. Battenberg III and former Chief Financial Officer Alan Dawes, who were accused of trying to mask the company’s deteriorating financial state through fraudulent accounting and fake transactions.


Treasury prices rally on more credit worries

Treasury prices rallied dramatically Monday on more credit concerns, pushing the benchmark 10-year note’s yield down.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 1.53 to 103.63 with a yield of 3.85 percent, down from 4 percent late Friday. The 10-year yield has not been this low since June 2005.

The 30-year long bond advanced 2.84 to 112.03 with a yield of 4.25 percent, down from 4.43 percent late Friday.

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