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Thu, May 29, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World business quick take

Gold futures

Investors find gold shelter

Gold may climb above US$400 an ounce for the first time in seven years as investors seek better returns than they expect from stocks and bonds and a falling US dollar makes the metal appear cheaper for overseas buyers. "We are at the early stages of another bull market for gold," said Jean-Marie Eveillard, whose US$215 million First Eagle Gold Fund more than doubled in value last year as gold prices jumped 25 percent, the largest gain since the 1970s. Gold futures traded in New York have risen 14 percent from a four-month low reached last month, to US$366.50 an ounce in Singapore. The dollar yesterday touched a record low against the euro and has fallen 22 percent in the past year. The US currency's slide prompted billionaire George Soros and other speculators to buy gold.


Landlord sues WTC victim

Cantor Fitzgerald Securities, the bond trading firm that lost two-thirds of its workers in the World Trade Center attack, is being sued by its former landlord for more than US$1 million in back rent. Cantor Fitzgerald owes rent from Aug. 1, 2001, through Sept. 10, 2001 -- the day before the attack -- for the floors it occupied near the top of Tower One, according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court. Since the attacks, the documents stated, 1 World Trade Center, which held the lease, has tried to settle with its former tenants, and most have either paid or "engaged in good faith discussion to do so." Cantor Fitzgerald had no comment, said spokeswoman Amy Nauiokas. The firm lost 658 of its 1,050 employees on Sept. 11; it now has offices in midtown Manhattan.

Fiscal policy

US allows record deficit

Without comment or ceremony, US President George W. Bush on Tuesday signed a bill allowing a record US$984 billion increase in the amount the federal government can borrow, to a record US$7.4 trillion. The increased federal borrowing will enable the government to pay for the US$350 billion economic stimulus package that the Republican-led Congress passed last week at Bush's behest. Bush was to hold a signing ceremony at the White House yesterday to celebrate passage of that legislation, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer announced. The package includes US$330 billion in tax cuts and US$20 billion in aid for states. Passage of the bill raising the nation's debt ceiling came last Friday, only hours after the tax-cut bill was approved. Congressional Democrats had sought to spotlight the federal IOUs that have resumed piling up under Bush.


Lufthansa adds broadband

Boeing said Tuesday that the German carrier Lufthansa had signed up to become the first full-blown commercial customer for its airborne broadband service, Connexion. Under the deal, Lufthansa, which previously tested the service, agreed to equip its fleet of approx-imately 80 long-haul aircraft with the technology to allow passengers to surf the web while they are airborne, beginning in early 2004. Financial terms of the service agreement were not disclosed. "Our dedication to innovation, customer orientation and high quality will continue to be the key for our success," said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, who will take over as chairman of Lufthansa's executive board on June 18.


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