In Brief

Allegiant Air says year-to-year passenger traffic rises in April

Allegiant Air, a unit of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., on Tuesday said year-to-year passenger traffic rose 14.4 percent in April as it boosted its available-seat count.

In a statement, Allegiant, which flies passengers from smaller U.S. cities to Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., said revenue passenger miles rose to 457,731 from 400,025. Available seat miles rose 14.2 percent to 505,680 from 442,757. Passenger count rose 8.6 percent to 484,079 from 445,881.

In April, Allegiant Travel reported a 19.8 percent drop in first-quarter earnings to $22.6 million, or $1.12 per share, from $28.2 million, or $1.37 per share, a year earlier.

Quarterly revenue rose 19.4 percent to $169.6 million from $142.1 million.

Allegiant Travel Co. shares fell $1.70, or 3.27 percent, Tuesday to close at $50.34 on the Nasdaq National Market.

Chase to open second local homeownership center

Community leaders are invited to attend the opening of Chase Bank’s second Homeownership Center in Southern Nevada.

The center provides help to homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure through loan modification. The meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. Thursday, however, will give community officials an opportunity to meet with bank representatives.

Assemblywoman April Mastroluca, D-Henderson, and Cynthia Thompson, a Chase home loan executive, will participate in the meeting, which will run at 1441 W. Warm Springs Road in Henderson.

The bank’s home loan centers help borrowers who obtained loans from Washington Mutual and EMC, which have become part of Chase Bank, and those who borrowed from Chase Bank itself.

Bridge closing, weather hurt Ameristar’s quarterly earnings

Ameristar Casinos, a Las Vegas company, on Tuesday said first-quarter net income fell 64 percent compared with a year ago.

In a statement, Ameristar, which operates Cactus Pete’s and the Horseshu in Jackpot, said its net income was $10.7 million, or 18 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31, down from net income of $29.9 million, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier.

The latest per-share results fell short of the 26 cents-per-share profit forecast by Thomson Reuters-polled analysts.

Revenue fell 4.2 percent to $302.6 million from $315.8 million.

The company said a fourth-quarter bridge closure in East Chicago, Ind., made visits to its Ameristar East Chicago inconvenient for patrons and hurt that casino’s results. Furthermore, the company said, harsh winter weather hurt performance at its Midwest properties in St. Charles, Mo.; East Chicago, Ind.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The economic recession also hurt results, the company suggested, reflecting in year-over-year market contraction in its Jackpot, Kansas City, Council Bluffs and Vicksburg, Miss., markets.

Ameristar shares fell 26 cents, or 1.32 percent, Tuesday to close at $19.46 on the Nasdaq National Market.

TULSA, Okla.

Dollar Thrifty says it will listen to higher offer from Avis

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. says it would entertain a "substantially higher offer" for its assets from Avis Budget Group Inc.

Avis is seeking to prevent the sale of Dollar Thrifty to Hertz Global Holdings Inc. In an open letter Monday, Avis said Dollar Thrifty had agreed to sell itself too cheaply and said it would make a higher offer than Hertz’s $1.17 billion bid.

In its own letter Tuesday, Dollar Thrifty says it will consider Avis’ offer.

Last week, Dollar Thrifty, based in Tulsa, Okla., posted a record first-quarter profit of $27.3 million.

Safety regulatory agency will open office in Southern Nevada

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will open a new office in Las Vegas.

The state has so far lacked a regional federal OSHA office. A statement issued by the office of U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., didn’t say where the office would be, when it would open, or how many people it would employ. Andrew Stoddard, a spokesman for Titus’ office in Washington, said that with the plan to put an office in the valley approved, the U.S. Department of Labor can proceed with finding a site and securing other details.

In April, administrators from Nevada OSHA promised to address 18 major findings in a U.S. Department of Labor report prompted by several construction site deaths in Las Vegas, most of them on Strip projects.

A federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversight committee cited several problems including willful violations of OSHA standards, fines that were deemed too small, failure to cite repeat violations and lack of proper training for inspectors.

Pfizer, Merck post big revenue jumps, lower income in quarter

The world’s two largest drugmakers, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co., posted big revenue jumps but lower net income for the first quarter, as they enjoyed new revenue from big rivals acquired last year but absorbed billions in severance pay and other costs.

Pfizer, the maker of cholesterol fighter Lipitor and impotence pill Viagra, earned $2.03 billion, or 25 cents per share, in the latest quarter, down 26 percent from $2.73 billion, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.

Adjusted income for the first three months totaled $4.88 billion, or 60 cents per share, rising 33 percent from $3.67 billion, or 54 cents a share, a year earlier.

Pfizer’s revenue rose 54 percent to $16.75 million from $10.87 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings per share of 53 cents and revenue of $16.58 billion.

Meanwhile, Merck, the maker of asthma and allergy pill Singulair and cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia reported net income of $298.8 million, or 9 cents per share, down 79 percent. Excluding charges totaling $2.31 billion, Merck would have earned 83 cents a share, or 8 cents more than analysts expected.

Revenue more than doubled to $11.42 billion.


Regulators to examine whether Apple violating antitrust rules

Federal regulators plan to examine whether Apple Inc. is violating antitrust rules by requiring software developers to use Apple programming tools to create applications for the iPhone and iPad.

Officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are sorting out which agency will examine Apple’s new policy, according to a person with knowledge of the inquiry. Apple’s policy prevents developers from using outside tools such as Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash format, which is used in many Web videos, games and interactive graphics, to design apps for Apple’s popular devices.

The person with knowledge of the inquiry, who was not authorized to speak publicly, noted that it is in a preliminary stage. The two antitrust agencies regularly scrutinize whether corporate conduct could stifle competition, and not all inquiries result in a formal investigation or action by the government.

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