State Farm Insurance to cut Nevada rates

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. said Thursday it will lower its overall rates in Nevada by an average of 6 percent. The rate change takes effect Monday for new customers and on May 23 for policy renewals. The rate change will save Nevada drivers $12.5 million yearly.

After the rate change, State Farm’s overall rates will be 7.7 percent lower than three and one-half years ago.

The insurer decreased premiums most for comprehensive coverage, which protects against losses from theft, storm damage, fire, vandalism and glass breakage.

The costs of collision and medical payments coverage also are declining, but the price of liability coverage is increasing for most customers. The insurance company recently announced a $13.7 million dividend in Nevada, which represents 13.1 percent of the semiannual premium.

State Farm insures 1 in 7 cars in Nevada.

Labor board slates union vote for dealers

The National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a vote for Wynn Las Vegas dealers to decided if they support having the Transport Workers Union of America negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with property management.

Voting will be held in three blocks; 6:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on May 12, and 2:30 a.m-3:30 a.m. on May 13.

The union vote will come eight months after the hotel-casino executives announced it was adding certain managers and casino supervisors to the nearly 700 dealers’ tip pool.

Wynn Las Vegas management said it started the policy to correct a pay disparity that had dealers earning more than their supervisors.

The New York-based union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and represents 130,000 workers nationwide in mass transportation, airlines, utilities, railroads, higher education and municipalities.

Google earnings rise 69 percent in quarter

Google, owner of the most-used Internet search engine, said first-quarter profit rose 69 percent as it increased advertising sales worldwide and took more market share from Yahoo.

Net income climbed to $1 billion, or $3.18 a share, from $592.3 million, or $1.95 a share, a year earlier, Google said in a statement. Profit excluding costs for stock options was $3.68 a share, exceeding the average estimate of 27 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Google shares rose 2.6 percent in trading after the earnings report.

Sales excluding revenue passed on to partners advanced 66 percent to $2.53 billion, more than analysts predicted, as Google beat rivals Yahoo and Microsoft Corp. in the United States and expanded in markets abroad. The gain helped to more than offset a 62 percent increase in expenses as Google spent more on new projects.

Google shares fell $4.36, or 0.92 percent, Thursday to close at $471.65 on the Nasdaq National Market.

Casino revenue surges in Macau in quarter

Macau’s first-quarter gaming revenue surged 44 percent from a year earlier as casinos opened in the past three years gained more customers.

The Chinese enclave’s gambling industry reaped 18.1 billion patacas ($2.25 billion) of revenue, figures posted on the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau’s Web site show. That compares with 12.6 billion patacas in last year’s first quarter and 16.6 billion patacas in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Macau gaming revenue started to surge in 2004, when Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Galaxy Casino SA ended the four-decade monopoly of billionaire Stanley Ho. Seven new casinos opened in the city last year, bringing the total to 24.

Foreign investors are staking $20 billion on making the city, a former Portuguese colony, into the gambling capital of Asia.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. opened the $1.2 billion Wynn Macau in September. The Las Vegas-based company, operated by developer Steve Wynn, plans to build a second casino in the city. Kirk Kerkorian’s MGM Mirage is also building a new hotel-casino in the city.


Union Pacific profits up 24 percent in quarter

Union Pacific Corp. reported a 24 percent jump in first-quarter net income Thursday as revenue rose 4 percent for the nation’s largest railroad behind strong improvement in revenue for shipping chemical and agricultural products.

Union Pacific said it earned $386 million, or $1.41 per share, during the quarter that ended March 31. That’s up from the same period a year ago, when the railroad made $311 million, or $1.15 per share.

That result exceeded the company’s and analysts’ predictions. The railroad said in January that it expected quarterly profits to fall between $1.25 and $1.35 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted a profit of $1.28 per share.

Revenue grew 9 percent for chemicals and 8 percent for agricultural products.

Union Pacific shares rose $2.69, or 2.36 percent, Thursday at $116.47 on the New York Stock Exchange.


Bond prices decline, reversing prior gains

U.S. Treasury bond prices ended lower Thursday, reversing the market’s prior three days of gains, amid rising U.S. stocks and despite the session’s mostly tepid U.S. economic data.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was down $1.25 per $1,000 in face value, or 0.13 points, from its level at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, rose to 4.67 percent from 4.65 percent.

The 30-year bond fell 0.25 points. Its yield rose to 4.84 percent from 4.82 percent.

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