SAC facing lawsuit
SAC Capital Advisors LP, which is facing federal insider-trading charges and a money laundering lawsuit, was granted court approval to continue operating until the cases are resolved. US District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan, who is presiding over the money-laundering case, signed an order on Friday to protect the Stamford, Connecticut-based fund’s legitimate operations from being impeded by the government, while the case is pending. The approved plan requires that during both cases, SAC will maintain at least 85 percent of the “aggregate value” of assets owned by the firm’s “entity defendants” as of July 1, and in exchange, allows for the fund to continue its lawful operations. If the assets fall below the specified level in a given month, the fund is required to “replenish” the monies, according to the order.
US firms cut stockpiles
US wholesalers cut their stockpiles in June for a third straight month even as their sales rose again. Businesses may need to speed up restocking if demand continues to increase, a trend that could boost economic growth in the second half of the year. The Commerce Department said on Friday that wholesale stockpiles fell 0.2 percent in June from May. That follows a 0.6 percent drop in May — the biggest in 20 months — a modest 0.1 percent decline in April. Wholesalers have not shrunk their stockpiles for three months or longer since September 2009, which was three months after the Great Recession ended. The decline shows that many remain cautious and are keeping inventories lean, despite three straight months of solid sales growth. In June, stockpiles at the wholesale level were US$499.7 billion. That is up only 2.9 percent from a year ago but 29.3 percent higher than the recession low in 2009.
Priceline nears US$1,000
Priceline.com came close on Friday to becoming the first stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to ever cross US$1,000. Investors jumped onboard after the travel booking company reported better than expected second-quarter earnings. The stock rose to almost US$995 before leveling off. The stock closed at US$969.89. The company’s stock had not been this high since it had an adjusted closing price of US$974.27 on April 30, 1999, a month after going public in the days of the dotcom boom. The stock dropped below US$10 just two years later. Online travel sites like Priceline, Expedia and Orbitz have their roots in booking airline tickets, but they have branched out because of a decline in commissions the airlines pay them. Priceline has been the most aggressive and successful in diversifying through several company-owned sites including Booking.com, Agoda, and Rentalcars.com.
Caesars sells up in Macau
Caesars Entertainment Corp reported on Friday to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it agreed to sell its golf course property for US$438 million to Pearl Dynasty Investments Ltd. Caesars says the sale is expected to close by the end of the year, and it intends to use the proceeds to pay down debt. Caesars is the only major US casino company without a casino in the Chinese gambling enclave.