Puget Energy's stock surged 10 percent Tuesday, a day after it announced a proposed settlement with most opponents of its plan to be acquired...

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Puget Energy’s stock surged 10 percent Tuesday, a day after it announced a proposed settlement with most opponents of its plan to be acquired by Australian and Canadian investors. The company’s shares climbed $2.48 to close at $27.19.

One opponent not mollified by the concessions, which are expected to be disclosed today, is the state Attorney General’s Public Counsel section.

Section chief Simon ffitch said “after careful consideration, our office concluded that [it] could not join this proposed settlement.”

The proposed buyers of the state’s largest utility “have not been able to resolve our key concerns about the level of debt being added to Puget’s financial structure and the risk that creates for the company and its customers,” ffitch wrote.

Financial services

State accuses Paramount Equity

The state Department of Financial Institutions said it will seek to revoke the license of Paramount Equity Mortgage after concluding the mortgage broker engaged in deceptive lending practices.

DFI also intends to fine the firm $500,000 and require restitution for borrowers, who got more than 1,700 mortgage loans through Paramount last year and paid it more than $8.7 million in fees.

The company, based in Roseville, Calif., has a local office in Bellevue. Paramount Equity officials did not respond for comment.

Paramount also made deceptive claims in radio ads featuring company President Hayes Barnard, said Deb Bortner, DFI’s director of consumer services.


Bellevue IndyMac plans to lay off 51

IndyMac Federal Bank, the California mortgage lender taken over earlier this month by federal regulators, will lay off 51 workers at its Bellevue office in September, according to a filing with the state Employment Security Department. Grove Nichols, a spokesman for the Pasadena, Calif.-based bank, said he did not know the head count at the Bellevue office and had no further comment.


TransAlta gets takeover proposal

Canadian power producer TransAlta says it has received a nonbinding takeover proposal from LS Power Equity Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners worth about $7.82 billion. TransAlta, whose operations include a generating complex in Centralia, said a special committee of independent directors will review the proposal.


Wachovia loses $8.9B, slashes jobs

Wachovia reported a surprisingly large second-quarter loss Tuesday, deflating Wall Street’s hopes that the nation’s big banks are weathering the credit crisis well. The bank said it lost $8.86 billion, is slashing its dividend and eliminating 10,750 positions after losses tied to mortgages soared.

Even excluding one-time items, the results substantially missed analysts’ estimates.

But by the afternoon its stock joined a modest Wall Street rally and rose as much as 13 percent — after its shares sank to mid-1991 levels in premarket trading, and after Wachovia’s new CEO said he plans to cut $2 billion of expenses by the end of next year and sell parts of the fourth-biggest U.S. bank.

Its shares rose $1.19, or 9 percent, to $14.37 in afternoon trading.


Oil tumbles as threat of storm evaporates

Oil prices tumbled more than $3 a barrel Tuesday as Hurricane Dolly grew increasingly unlikely to threaten supply, giving traders one less reason to buy as a strengthening dollar helped keep prices in check.

The sell-off was a throwback to last week’s sharp declines, and dragged crude to its lowest level since early June. It was oil’s fifth decline in the last six sessions.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $3.09 to settle at $127.95 a barrel in its last trading day on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the contract, which will be replaced by September crude Wednesday, dropped as low as $125.63.


Yahoo profit falls; financial decay seen

Yahoo Inc.’s second-quarter profit fell 18 percent, the latest sign of the financial decay that has frustrated shareholders and raised doubts about the Internet company’s future.

But while the results released Tuesday missed analyst expectations, the performance wasn’t as bad as many investors had feared after Internet search and advertising leader Google Inc.’s second-quarter earnings disappointed Wall Street last week.

Yahoo earned $131 million, or 9 cents per share, from April through June, compared with $161 million, or 11 cents per share, at the same time last year.


Nintendo facing ban on some controllers

Nintendo is facing a ban on U.S. sales of some controllers for its Wii and GameCube systems after it lost a bid to overturn a $21 million patent-infringement verdict.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark in Lufkin, Texas, rejected Nintendo’s request for a new trial in the case won by closely held Anascape of Tyler, Texas. He said he would stop sales of the Wii Classic Controller, WaveBird controller and Nintendo GameCube controller. His ban will be put on hold while Nintendo appeals the verdict to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, said Anascape lawyer Doug Cawley.

The judge, scheduled to issue his ban order today, said Nintendo will have to post a bond or put royalties in an escrow account to avoid the halt, said Cawley, of McKool Smith in Dallas.

Not all controllers were found to infringe the patent. Jurors agreed with Nintendo that the rectangular Wii remote, when not used with the Wii Classic, and the “Nunchuk” controller attached to the remote don’t violate the patent at the heart of the case. The rectangular Wii remote is the one that comes with the console.


Ford to retool plants to make smaller cars

Ford plans to revamp some U.S. plants and bring six small vehicles to the U.S. market from overseas to meet customers’ growing demand for more fuel-efficient options, a person briefed on the company’s plans said Tuesday.

Ford has no immediate plans to close U.S. plants despite overcapacity in a slumping market, the person said. Instead, the automaker will retool plants to increase production of smaller cars and engines. The person requested anonymity because Ford isn’t confirming details until Thursday, when it releases second-quarter earnings.

The moves will further accelerate Ford’s efforts to ease its dependence on trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans, which accounted for 45 percent of its sales in the first half of this year. Ford’s U.S. sales dropped 14 percent in the first six months of 2008 as consumers, shocked by rising gas prices, sought smaller vehicles.


UPS profit declines; outlook lowered

Customers are using UPS shipping services within the U.S. less amid a slumping U.S. economy and soaring fuel prices. The company’s international business was affected as imports into the country declined in the second quarter.

As it reported a nearly 21 percent profit decline in the April-June period and lowered its outlook for the year, United Parcel Service Inc. said Tuesday it was working to cut costs.

Even so, Dan Ortwerth, an Edward Jones & Co. analyst, said the Atlanta-based company has the financial wherewithal to steer through the rough patch. UPS shares rose more than 4 percent in Tuesday trading.


Boost from bank lifts United’s stock

United Airlines got a much-needed boost of confidence, as well as $1.2 billion in cash, from credit-card partner Chase Bank, sending its shares soaring 69 percent Tuesday.

The deal, unveiled during United’s midmorning earnings call, appeared to quell investor concerns about the carrier’s viability as high oil prices, a sputtering economy and a looming seasonal falloff in travel threaten to drain airlines’ cash.

United reported it suffered a net loss of $2.73 billion, or $21.47 a diluted share, compared with earnings in the year-ago quarter of $274 million, or $1.83 a share.

However, United’s losses were magnified by $2.27 billion in accounting charges to write down “goodwill” on its balance sheet. Excluding all charges, United lost $151 million or $1.19 per share, far less than the $2.05 a share deficit experts had been forecasting.

United shares gained $3.42, or 69 percent, to close at $8.41.

Compiled from The Associated Press, Seattle Times staff, Chicago Tribune and Bloomberg News.