DHL rethinking plan to pull out of Ohio site
Cargo shipper DHL says it is talking again with its current flying partners at its U.S. freight hub in southwest Ohio. DHL said last year that it was pulling out of the site in Wilmington, Ohio, and hiring United Parcel Service to sort and fly DHL packages in the United States. Much of the work would have transferred to a UPS facility in Louisville, and meant a loss of 8,000 jobs at the Wilmington air park. An agreement to negotiate exclusively with UPS expired at the end of January, and DHL spokesman Jonathan Baker said Friday that the company is now also talking with others. The development raises the possibility that ABX and ASTAR, which currently fly DHL cargo from Wilmington, might be chosen to continue serving DHL. About 5,500 workers remain employed at the air park, about 30 miles southeast of Dayton.
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Stock market sustains rally
A stunning about-face in bank shares handed the stock market its best week since November. The market has shot up as much over the past several days as it might in some years, with major indicators chalking up gains of around 10 percent. Friday's gains were modest compared with the huge rallies on Tuesday and Thursday, but investors welcomed the moderate buying and the market's ability to hold its ground. Several other recent rallies have ended with disappointing selloffs.
Six Flags: Bankruptcy possible
Shares of Six Flags Inc. fell Friday on growing speculation that the theme park operator may be forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the company said it could not meet a looming financing obligation. Six Flags shares, which have traded under $1 since September, lost 3 cents, or 15.8 percent, to 16 cents in morning trading. The stock has traded between 16 cents and $2.50 during the past 52 weeks. In its annual report Wednesday, the company said a Chapter 11 filing is possible if the New York-based company cannot reach a deal to restructure its debt.
Trade deficit lowest in 6 years
The U.S. trade deficit plunged in January to the lowest level in six years. While U.S. exports — from farm goods to autos to civilian aircraft — fell sharply, imports fell at an even faster clip as a deepening recession cut demand for goods from abroad. The Commerce Department said Friday the trade imbalance dropped to $36 billion in January, a decline of 9.7 percent from December and the lowest level since October 2002. While the improvement was better than the $38 billion deficit that economists had expected, they did not see the development as good news for the economy.
AT&T eyes cutting benefits
AT&T Inc., the largest employer of union labor in the country, is renegotiating contracts that cover 112,500 workers and looks set to take advantage of the recession to reduce its health care costs. Five regional union contracts expire April 4. A sixth that expires a few months later is being negotiated at the same time. The last time this batch of contracts was up for negotiation, five years ago, there was a four-day strike that was seen as a minor victory for the Communications Workers of America. But this time, the economic meltdown has shifted the balance of power decidedly toward the employer.
Labatt USA beer unit sold
Anheuser-Busch InBev said Friday it has completed its sale to a private equity group of the unit that imports Canada's Labatt beer into the United States. The world's largest brewer had to sell that business to win antitrust approval for its $52 billion takeover of Anheuser-Busch last year. Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a news release Friday it completed the sale of assets of InBev USA LLC — known as Labatt USA — to private equity group KPS Capital Partners. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Swiss to aid tax investigations
Switzerland's days as a safe haven for the world's tax evaders are numbered. Under pressure from the United States and other troubled economies, the Swiss government announced Friday that it will cooperate in international tax investigations, breaking with a long-standing tradition of protecting wealthy foreigners accused of hiding billions of dollars. Austria and Luxembourg also said they would help.
Compiled from Staff, wire reports