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Passenger count increases for Allegiant

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air reported a nearly 45 percent increase in passengers during the first quarter of 2007, its parent company Allegiant Travel Co. reported.

Allegiant, which specializes in providing service connecting small towns to Las Vegas and Florida, carried 753,239 passengers during the quarter, up from 521,324 during the same period in 2006.

The increase strengthened toward the end of the quarter, the company reported, with passenger traffic in March up nearly 53 percent to 310,504.

Allegiant Travel stock trades on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ALGT. It shares fell 3 cents, or 0.09 percent, to close at $32.01.

Ex-PurchasePro boss will represent himself

Charles “Junior” Johnson, the former chief executive of PurchasePro, a failed business-to-business e-commerce company, is representing himself in a criminal case alleging conspiracy, securities fraud, two counts of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.

Johnson was being tried in federal court in Alexandria, Va., with another senior officer at PurchasePro and two former midlevel managers at America Online last year. In November, U.S. District Judge Walter Kelley Jr. declared a mistrial for Johnson for undisclosed reasons. The other three defendants were later found innocent.

Court records show that defense attorney Preston Burton and Sidney Hoffmann were terminated as Johnson’s defense attorneys on Nov. 27, the date of the mistrial. Attorneys Yale Galanter, and Alex Yamamoto stopped representing Johnson in February 2006.

The trial is scheduled to start Sept. 5.


AMD to impose hiring freeze, cut expenses

With its sales shriveling even more than analysts feared, Advanced Micro Devices is imposing a partial hiring freeze and clamping down on other major expenses as the slumping chip maker tries to weather a fierce battle with Intel Corp.

The cost-cutting measures outlined Monday accompanied a first-quarter warning that signaled the Sunnyvale-based company’s recent troubles are worsening.

AMD said its revenue for the three months ending in March totaled $1.23 billion, well below the company’s initial estimates of $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion.

AMD is scheduled to provide a full accounting of its first quarter on April 19.

AMD shares rose 19 cents, or 3.81 percent, Monday to close at $13.35.


Labor group would honor grocery pickets

A federation of labor unions said Monday its members would honor picket lines should thousands of Southern California grocery workers go on strike or be locked out over a contract dispute with three national supermarket chains.

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor said its more than 800,000 members would also mobilize for demonstrations, boycotts and food drives to aid striking grocery workers.

The organization is home to more than 300 unions, including the Screen Actors Guild, the Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Teachers.


Coke to adopt new contactless pay card

MasterCard Worldwide announced another deal on Monday for the use of its contactless payment cards.

MasterCard said technology developed with USA Technologies was being adopted by Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, the third largest bottler in America, for use in its vending machines. With contactless technology, the card user simply taps a MasterCard PayPass credit card to complete a purchase, with no signature required.

Coca-Cola United operates from Atlanta to Baton Rouge, La.

Will that be regular or honey-roasted?

Southwest Airlines Co., which celebrates peanuts as an on-board snack and a reminder of its low fares, is a two-flavor carrier again.

The most profitable U.S. airline and the No. 1 carrier at McCarran International Airport recently resumed serving honey-roasted peanuts following a two-year absence, after the price fell to the same as the dry-roasted variety, spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said.

The move reverses Dallas-based Southwest’s abandonment of honey-roasted nuts in 2005 to save money, and restores its practice of switching varieties in alternate years. The low-fare carrier offers the nuts on all its flights, 94 million packets in 2006, and often describes its ticket prices as “peanuts.”

Shares of Southwest rose 5 cents, or 0.33 percent, Monday to close at $15.13.


Interest rates mixed in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were mixed in Monday’s auction, with three-month bills declining and six-month bills edging higher.

The Treasury Department auctioned $15 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.88 percent, down from 4.91 percent last week, and $13 billion in six-month bills at a discount rate of 4.89 percent, up from 4.87 percent last week.

The three-month rate was the lowest since these bills averaged 4.875 percent on Dec. 26.


Bond prices rebound after payrolls report

Treasury bond prices edged higher Monday, regaining a little of the hefty losses they suffered Friday after the unexpectedly strong March nonfarm payrolls report.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was up 31 cents per $1,000 in face value, or 0.03 points, from its level at 5 p.m. Friday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, was unchanged at 4.75 percent.

The 30-year bond rose 0.03 points. Its yield was unchanged at 4.92 percent.

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