Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WSJ Current News April 5-7

Massey Has History of Safety Violations

Massey Energy Co.'s Upper Big Branch coal mine has been cited more than 100 times since the start of this year for safety violations including failing to properly control methane levels, according to the U.S. mine-safety agency.The cause of an explosion Monday that killed at least 25 miners at the mine has yet to be determined, but federal mine-safety officials say they suspect something ignited methane gas that had built up in the mine. The buildup of the dangerous gas was delaying rescuers' attempts Tuesday to enter the mine to search for victims.

Mr. Dimon Goes to Washington
As Congress prepares to push finance regulation to the front burner, plenty of bank executives—stung by Washington's Wall Street bashing—are keeping a low profile.James Dimon, chairman and chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., isn't one of them. Buoyed by J.P. Morgan's relative good health, he's spent the past year launching his own campaign to stave off government proposals that would rein in profits, boost consumer protections and impose new fees.
Euro-zone Growth Accelerates
LONDON—Euro-zone private-sector output grew at its strongest rate for 31 months in March, fueled by a surge in activity in Germany, final data from financial-information firm Markit showed Wednesday.The currency area's composite output index, a measure of private-sector output based on a monthly survey of about 4,500 companies, rose to 55.9 in March from 53.7 in February—the highest reading since August 2007. It marks the eighth consecutive month that the index has been above the "no change" 50.0 level.

U.S. Appeals Court Backs Comcast
A U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission overstepped when it cited cable-giant Comcast Corp. for slowing some Internet traffic on its network, dealing a blow to big Web commerce companies and other proponents of "net neutrality."In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the FCC exceeded its authority when it sanctioned Comcast in 2008 for deliberately preventing some subscribers from using peer-to-peer file-sharing services to download large files.

Jury Still Out on Replacing Steel Mill with Casino
BETHLEHEM, Pa.—Five years ago, this former steel town took a gamble on Las Vegas Sands Corp., allowing the company to put a casino on the site of its historic steel mill. Las Vegas Sands promised to build a hotel, shopping mall and events center on a corner of the 126-acre Bethlehem Steel site, which was shuttered in 1995. Anchoring it all would be the casino filled with 5,000 slot machines, where even the ceiling lights, made to look like molten iron rods, would evoke the site's old industrial legacy. But revenue from the slots parlor, which opened last May, has been disappointing. The hotel and events center are both 20% complete, and the planned shopping mall is 70% complete, all stalled because of the economic downturn.

Greek Bonds Remain Under Pressure
LONDON—The cost of insuring Greek sovereign debt remained elevated after rising dramatically Tuesday, as worries about the lack of resolution of the Greek debt crisis continued to weigh on financial markets.
The euro was also under pressure, trading at $1.3378 against the dollar,reece's five-year sovereign credit default swaps were unchanged in early trading at 3.90 percentage points--nearly 0.50 percentage point wider than last week—according to CMA DataVision, having touched four percentage points at one point Tuesday.The spread between 10-year bonds and the benchmark German bund was 3.868 percentage points, tighter than Tuesday's widest levels, but wider than a spread of 3.789 percentage points at 1500 GMT Tuesday.

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