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NATION



Published: Tue, August 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



NATION

Negotiations could result in higher clothing prices

WASHINGTON -- When U.S. and Chinese textile negotiators sit down today, the administration's effort to help beleaguered American manufacturers could end up costing consumers some of the sweet deals they have been enjoying on clothing prices. Some experts say America's clothing bill could rise by $6 billion or more annually if domestic producers get what they want -- a comprehensive deal limiting a broad array of Chinese imports. Gary Hufbauer, a top trade expert at the Institute for International Economics, said the $6 billion estimate would translate into roughly $20 more on a U.S. consumer's annual clothing bill. But he cautioned that this could end up being a low estimate, given the tremendous impact Chinese imports have had in pushing clothing prices down in recent years. "A comprehensive trade agreement would take the downward price pressure off not only for American producers but for other countries selling into the U.S. market," he said. For the three months ending in June, clothing prices at the retail level were falling at an annual rate of 5.9 percent, reflecting in large part the surge in Chinese imports that has occurred since Jan. 1 when a three-decade old system of global quotas was lifted.

Delta, fighting bankruptcy, sells feeder airline, Atlantic

ATLANTA -- Delta Air Lines Inc., which is struggling to avoid a bankruptcy filing amid persistently high fuel costs, said Monday it is selling feeder carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines Inc. to SkyWest Inc. for $425 million in cash. Delta, the nation's third-largest carrier, said the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes and to pay down $100 million of debt under its loan agreement with GE Commercial Finance and other lenders. The sale, subject to regulatory review, is expected to close in September. Delta shares fell 22 cents, or 13.7 percent, to close at $1.39 in extremely heavy trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. The close, Delta's lowest in at least 43 years, dropped the company's market capitalization to roughly $200 million. Standard & amp; Poor's said that after the close of trading Thursday it will replace Delta with Public Storage Inc. on the S & amp;P 500 index. Public Storage is a real estate investment trust based in Glendale, Calif. Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. will replace Delta on the S & amp;P 100 index.

Shareholder Icahn urges Time Warner to shed cable

NEW YORK -- Financier Carl Icahn said Monday he will press Time Warner Inc. to shed its cable TV unit and embark on an aggressive buyback of $20 billion of its own shares. Icahn, who is known for taking stakes in companies and agitating for strategic changes, said in a statement that he and three other investors have amassed more than 120 million shares of Time Warner, or about 2.6 percent of the giant media conglomerate, which owns CNN, HBO, Warner Bros. and the country's second-largest cable TV provider. Earlier this month Time Warner said it planned to repurchase $5 billion of its own shares over the next two years in a bid to raise the company's sagging stock price, but Icahn and his partners believe Time Warner can afford much more dramatic steps to boost the shares.

From wire reports




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