Niking Corp. of Pearl City has been awarded a $2.3 million contract to renovate, design and build several facilities at Schofield Barracks.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu awarded Niking the contract to design and renovate building 6017 and design and build a water blasting, allied trades and compressed gas storage facilities.
The work will include the installation of motorized roll-up doors, fire suppression systems and support utilities, the Corps said electronic check payday advance.
A key measure of consumer confidence dropped in June to the fifth lowest reading ever, as Americans grew more concerned about their jobs and rising food and fuel prices.
The New York-based research group Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 50.4 from a revised 58.1 in May. The reading was the lowest since February 1992, when it was 47.3.
Economists had expected the index to decline to 56, according to Briefing.com.
Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board, said the report is an indication that the economy is "stuck in low gear."
"Perhaps the silver lining to this otherwise dismal report is that Consumer Confidence may be nearing a bottom," Franco said in a statement.
This year’s loss of jobs, the simultaneous decline of stocks and home prices, and the sharp rise in food and fuel prices all combined to leave this month’s consumer confidence index at roughly half that of 2007’s composite average, according to economist Bernard Baumohl of the Economic Outlook Group.
Baumohl said consumer spending has held up well in recent weeks, despite "horrible" consumer confidence, but he expects that to change after the effects of the economic stimulus and the annual tax refunds have subsided.
"Getting both at this time of year had led to an increase in household spending, but I expect this to be temporary. I’m looking for spending to trail off in the latter part of the summer," Baumohl said.
As the labor market contracts and home values dip, Baumohl expects spending - the bedrock of the American economy - to suffer.
"If consumers are not spending, then the economy is in serious trouble. I think we’re in a recession right now," he said.
As in 1992, the low number comes in the middle of a presidential election campaign in which the economy has become a key issue.
An adviser for presumed Republican nominee John McCain weighed in on the report, calling the numbers a point of "concern."
"We know that the public has been concerned and regardless of whether the geeks in the world think there’s a recession or not, the public feels like that," the McCain campaign wrote in a statement.
An adviser for presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama read the report as a call for change no fax payday loans.
"The disappointing consumer confidence numbers are yet more evidence that we need a change in our economic policy," the Obama campaign wrote in a statement.
Among the components in the overall report, the Expectations Index - a measure of consumers’ economic outlook for the future - hit an all-time low, declining to 41 from 47.3 in May.
The Present Situation Index, which measures how the average consumer feels about the economy right now, decreased to 64.5 from 74.2 in May.
The number of respondents reporting that business conditions as bad increased to 32.5% from 29.7% in May, while those claiming business conditions as good declined to 11.5% from 13% last month.
Consumers’ take on the job market was also more pessimistic this month. Those who said jobs are hard to get increased to 30.5% from 28.3% in May, while those saying jobs are plentiful declined to 14.1% from 16.1% the month before.
The labor market for the months ahead was also cause for concern. The percent of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the near future increased to 35.5% from 32.3%, while those who think there will be more jobs declined to 8% from 9%.
The six-month outlook for future business conditions got worse in June. Those who expect business conditions to worsen until December rose to 33.9% from 32.9%, while those who expect business to get better decreased to 8.8% from 10.6% in May.
The index - based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households conducted for The Conference Board by TNS - has declined for six months in a row. The index uses 1985 as the benchmark year when the index stood at 100.
Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. is set to reject Belgian brewer InBev's $46.3 billion unsolicited takeover offer, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the situation.
The article posted to the Wall Street Journal's Web site Wednesday said A-B will argue that InBev's $65 per share offer undervalues the iconic American brewer. A-B is also expected to present its own strategic plan, which could include the company selling its noncore assets, such as its theme park operation, to boost the company's share price, according to the article.
A-B and InBev officials were not immediately available for comment.
A rejection of InBev's offer is likely to prompt InBev to take its takeover proposal directly to A-B shareholders, according to Craig Hutson, senior investment grade analyst at Gimme Credit, a corporate bond research firm.
"The longer (Anheuser-Busch) goes without engaging InBev's senior management, the more likely it becomes that InBev takes a hostile offer directly to (A-B) shareholders," Hutson said. "We do not believe (A-B) has many takeover defenses, and the 'just say no' response will elicit a flurry of shareholder lawsuits."
The Wall Street Journal's sources said to justify its rejection, A-B is expected to increase the level of its cost savings plan from $500 million to $1 billion over the next four years. The company is also considering paying a special dividend to its shareholders, according to the article.
The news comes the same day InBev CEO Carlos Brito sent another letter to Anheuser-Busch's board of directors reaffirming InBev's $46.3 billion takeover bid and informing A-B it has paid approximately $50 million in commitment fees to its lending group demonstrating its resolve to make a deal happen.
Brito called the $65 per share offer a "firm proposal" saying the market reaction to the proposal has been "extremely positive."
The $65 per share price is a roughly 24 percent premium to Anheuser-Busch's closing price of $52.58 a share May 22 this year, the day before a Financial Times blog cited anonymous sources who said InBev was preparing its bid for A-B. Anheuser-Busch shares closed at $61.76 on Wednesday.
In his letter, Brito told A-B's board "that time is of the essence."
Analyst Kris Kippers with Belgian brokerage Petercam SA estimated in a note June 13 that a sale of A-B's theme parks and packaging companies could generate as much as $4.4 billion cheap payday loans.
According to Kippers, the company could receive about $2.9 billion if it sold Busch Entertainment Corp., the family entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch that owns Busch Gardens and SeaWorld and operates nine theme parks across the country. A-B also announced in February that it planned to open four additional parks to be built in Dubai.
A-B's packaging unit, which includes Metal Container Corp., Eagle Packaging Inc., Longhorn Glass Corp. and Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corp., could fetch $1.5 billion, according to Kippers. Metal Container produces cans and lids, Eagle Packaging makes liners for bottle caps, Longhorn Glass is a glass bottle supplier and A-B Recycling is one of the world's largest recyclers of used aluminum beverage containers.
InBev Chief Financial Officer Felipe Dutra said in a conference call earlier this month that the company is considering selling non-core assets to help fund the potential purchase of A-B. He said InBev is evaluating both companies, not just A-B, in making their decision on which non-core assets to sell.
"Assets not fully integrated with the focus of our business could be sold," Dutra said at the time.
Busch Entertainment announced in October that it would move its corporate headquarters from St. Louis to Orlando, Fla., by this July.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. (NYSE: BUD), through its Anheuser-Busch Inc. subsidiary, is the leading domestic brewer, holding a 48.5 percent share of U.S. beer sales. The company also manufactures and recycles aluminum cans and operates theme parks.
Inflation has surpassed unemployment as the top concern among European citizens, whose confidence in the outlook for their national economies plunged in early 2008, according to a survey released by the European Commission.
The poll of more than 30,000 people across Europe “shows an important shift downward in the confidence Europeans place in their national economy,'' the commission, the EU executive in Brussels, said in a statement today. “EU citizens now consider inflation as the most important issue in their country.''
Forty-six percent of respondents said the situation of their national economies “will be worse'' in the next 12 months, according to the poll, conducted March 25-May 4. That is up from 26 percent in the previous survey, which was released in December. Sixteen percent of respondents said they believe the economic climate will improve in the next year, down from 24 percent earlier.
The Eurobarometer poll showed that 37 percent of citizens consider inflation to be “the most important issue'' in their countries, up 11 percentage points. Twenty-four percent name unemployment as the top concern, down from 27 percent.
While the jobless rate in the euro area has fallen to a record low 7.1 percent, inflation accelerated to 3.7 percent last month, the highest since 1992, on soaring food and energy prices. The European Central Bank in Frankfurt has signaled it may raise borrowing costs in July as policy makers set aside concerns about the economy's expansion to focus on inflation http://paydayintime.com.
Almost half of European citizens, 48 percent, have a “positive image'' of the EU, while 15 percent have a negative image, the survey showed. Ireland, which rejected the proposed EU treaty in a referendum this month, had the second-highest positive opinion on the EU, at 65 percent. Romania was highest with 67 percent.
“The referendum was not about membership in the European Union,'' commission spokesman Joe Hennon told reporters in Brussels today. “You'll have to ask the Irish people why'' they voted against the treaty, he said, adding that the positive image of the EU “has been relatively stable for quite a long time'' in the semi-annual Eurobarometer surveys.
Overall support for EU membership fell to 52 percent in the latest poll from 58 percent earlier. Half of EU citizens “tend to trust'' the bloc, while 32 percent place more trust in their national governments, according to the latest poll.
The survey showed 44 percent of respondents say the 27- nation EU protects them from the negative effects of globalization, while 35 percent disagree.
“These results reflect the current economic difficulties and show the need for the EU to continue with its policy agenda aimed at improving the quality of people's daily lives,'' Margot Wallstrom, vice president of the commission, said in the statement.
The head of Mexican beer company Grupo Modelo is stepping down from the board of Anheuser-Busch as the remaining directors of the iconic American brewer of Budweiser consider a $46 billion takeover offer from Belgian brewer InBev.
The resignation of Carlos Fernandez, president and chief executive of Grupo Modelo SAB, was announced Friday - the same day the Anheuser-Busch Cos. (BUD, Fortune 500) board met in St. Louis to consider InBev’s $65-per-share offer for the largest U.S. brewer.
Anheuser-Busch said in a statement its board did not respond to InBev’s proposal after Friday’s meeting, but would "continue to review and consider the proposal." InBev declined comment.
Anheuser-Busch shares slipped 38 cents to $60.67 Friday. The stock price has risen sharply since rumors of InBev’s interest began earlier this spring.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch did not say why Fernandez resigned. His departure leaves the board with 13 members.
"Carlos has always provided great value as a member of our board, with insights into the business," Anheuser-Busch President and CEO August A. Busch IV said in a statement. "He remains a respected colleague."
Grupo Modelo said in a statement that Fernandez resigned from the Anheuser-Busch board "to avoid the appearance of any conflicts." Company officials did not elaborate.
Anheuser-Busch owns an approximate 50% non-controlling stake in Grupo Modelo, which distributes Budweiser, Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products in Mexico. There have been reports that Anheuser-Busch is considering a greater stake in Grupo Modelo. Still, analysts say the relationship has long been strained.
Juli Niemann of Smith Moore & Co. in St. Louis said Fernandez’s departure may be a signal that the Anheuser-Busch board is opposed to the InBev deal.
"What Grupo Modelo wants is a semi-silent partner, and that’s not Anheuser-Busch," Niemann said. "The trend may possibly be going in the direction Fernandez doesn’t like.
"I view the board meeting as buying time to throw up more defenses - a scorched-earth policy or poison pill." A poison pill unleashes more shares if there is an unwanted suitor who tries to take over a company, driving up the purchase price.
Dave Kolpak of Victory Capital Management in Cleveland also believes the majority of board members may be expressing opposition to the InBev takeover.
"My expectation is the Anheuser-Busch board will resist the offer," Kolpak said http://paydayloans-on.com. "I think it will be a difficult task because I think it’s a pretty generous offer. I think the board today is getting together to think about ways to resist."
A deal between Anheuser-Busch and Grupo Modelo could make the St. Louis brewer too big for InBev to purchase. Last week, in a letter to Busch, InBev CEO Carlos Brito warned against pursuing a larger piece of Grupo Modelo. Brito said his company’s $65-per-share offer was based on Anheuser-Busch’s current assets, business and capital structure.
Several Missouri politicians have expressed opposition to the Inbev offer, citing Anheuser-Busch’s 150-year heritage in St. Louis and its strong commitment to civic and charitable endeavors.
In a video interview posted Friday on InBev’s Web site, Brito tried to calm fears about what will happen in St. Louis if the takeover is approved.
"We don’t have a headquarters in the U.S. So why would we move the headquarters out of St. Louis when we understand that St. Louis is such an integral part of what the brand is all about - the roots, the Clydesdales, the museum, the Pestalozzi Street brewery, the 1 Busch Place - all the things are key parts of the brand?" Brito said. "So why change? We don’t have a place to go."
In another deal, Anheuser-Busch said Friday it will purchase the remaining 50% ownership of the Crown Beers India Ltd. joint venture from its partner, Crown International. The deal also gives Anheuser-Busch ownership of the venture’s brewery in Hyderabad, India.
A state judge upheld the fraud verdict that Alabama won against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP in a Medicaid drug pricing suit, but ruled Thursday the punitive damages were too high, trimming the total judgment to $160 million.
The jury had ordered the company, the U.S. subsidiary of Britain’s AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), to pay $40 million in compensatory damages and $175 million in punitive damages. But Circuit Judge Charles Price ruled that state law limits punitive damages to three times compensatory damages and cut the amount down to $120 million.
A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca said the company would appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.
The verdict in February came in the first trial of lawsuits filed by the state against more than 70 drug companies. The lawsuits claim the state was overcharged for prescription drugs for Medicaid recipients.
Two other drug companies, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and SmithKline Beecham Corp., are currently on trial in the litigation in Montgomery.
One of the state’s lawyers, Montgomery attorney Jere Beasley, said it was important that the judge found punitive damages were supported by the evidence. He said the court also "correctly found there was sufficient evidence that the defendants committed fraud" in pricing drugs for the poor and elderly in the state’s Medicaid program.
"We believe this is a most significant finding by the trial judge who heard the evidence and found that the defendants committed intentional fraud," he said.
AstraZeneca spokeswoman Laura Woodin said the company was pleased that the judge "reduced the amount of punitive damages as required by Alabama law."
"However, we are disappointed that Judge Price did not set aside the jury’s verdict in its entirety," Woodin said payday loan online. "AstraZeneca has fully complied with the law, government guidelines and contracts that govern Medicaid pricing."
Drugs manufactured by AstraZeneca include Nexium, which is used to treat heartburn and acid reflux, and Crestor, which is prescribed to lower cholesterol.
Judge: Pharma firm’s actions ‘reprehensible’
In his eight-page ruling, Price said the evidence during the trial showed that AstraZeneca’s actions in overcharging Alabama’s Medicaid program were "reprehensible."
"The state introduced evidence to establish that the defendants fraudulently diverted Medicaid funds intended to benefit the state’s poor, elderly and infirm citizens," Price wrote. "The state established that defendants’ wrongful conduct deprived the state of limited funds available for the state’s Medicaid recipients."
At a hearing last week, attorneys for AstraZeneca had asked Price to throw out or reduce the $215 million jury verdict. AstraZeneca contended that, if not thrown out, the total judgment should be no more than $86 million.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King filed the lawsuits against the drug companies in 2005. Since the lawsuits were filed, the state has settled its claims against two drug manufacturers, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. and Day LP.
Similar lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies are pending in other states, including Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah, Hawaii and Alaska.
The Swiss central bank will probably leave its main lending rate unchanged at a six-year high tomorrow as slowing growth limits policy makers' room to combat inflation, a survey of economists shows.
The Swiss National Bank's Governing Board led by Jean-Pierre Roth will probably keep the three-month Libor target at 2.75 percent when it meets in Geneva tomorrow, according to 16 of 25 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.
Switzerland's economy may lose momentum in the coming months as weakening global demand erodes exports and losses from the U.S. housing crisis eat into earnings at the country's largest banks including UBS AG and Credit Suisse. At the same time, record oil prices are fueling the fastest inflation in 15 years, leaving the SNB in an “uncomfortable situation,'' Vice President Philipp Hildebrand said May 22.
“The Swiss economy has already cooled considerably and is going to keep slowing in the second and third quarters,'' said Jan Amrit Poser, chief economist at Bank Sarasin in Zurich. “Inflation is high, but it's mostly due to high oil prices, and the SNB can't do much about that. The real threat is to growth.''
Swiss economic growth slowed to 0.3 percent in the first quarter, the weakest pace in more than three years. The country's leading economic indicators fell for a 10th month in May, a sign growth will continue to ease in the coming six months.
Still, inflation threats have increased and gains in the price of oil had surprised the central bank, Roth said May 27. The SNB will take the risks of inflation seriously at its policy meeting tomorrow, Roth said. Crude prices have risen 40 percent this year, helping push the Swiss inflation rate to 2.9 percent in May.
The SNB will announce its decision at 9:30 a.m. and Governing Board members Roth, Hildebrand and Thomas Jordan will hold a press conference 30 minutes later.
Soaring prices for oil and food are prompting central banks from India to North America to shift attention from fighting slowing economic growth to stamping out inflation. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said June 5 the bank may raise rates as soon as next month to combat rising prices.
Consumer price increases in the 15-nation euro area accelerated to 3.7 percent in May, the fastest in 16 years. The Swiss inflation rate held above the SNB's price-stability threshold of 2 percent for a fifth month.
Since Trichet's remarks, the Swiss three-month Libor rate has risen 15 basis points to 2.92 percent, almost a quarter point higher than the target, as investors increased bets the SNB would increase rates.
BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse Group, Barclay's Capital, Deutsche Bank and economic research group BAK Basel Economics all changed their forecasts last week to say the SNB would raise rates to 3 percent in June.
“Markets have already priced in higher rates,'' said Reto Huenerwadel senior economist at UBS in Zurich who forecasts rates to be unchanged. “Looking at the economic fundamentals, an aggressive tightening isn't needed. It's a really close call.''
Still, the franc's 19 percent gain against the dollar in the past year is helping cushion the blow of soaring oil prices. At the same time, slowing growth may weaken demand, relieving some pressure on prices.
“The extent to which the economy is going to slow isn't yet certain,'' said Bernard Lambert, an economist at Pictet & Cie in Geneva. “It's a good time for the SNB to wait and see.''
Some price increases will likely linger even if growth slows. High food costs “are here to stay'' as governments divert resources to make biofuels, amass stockpiles and limit exports, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestle SA, the world's largest food company, said June 16. Food prices “will establish themselves on a higher level but not at the peaks we have seen,'' he said.
The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines fell in March, the first year-over-year monthly decline since September 2006.
The Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said Thursday that U.S. airlines carried 66.9 million scheduled passengers in March, down 0.4% from March 2007. The number of domestic passengers fell 1.4%, while international passengers increased by 7%.
The number of scheduled passengers rose 1.5% in the first three months of the year to 181.1 million - 2.7 million more than a year earlier.
Southwest Airlines (LUV, Fortune 500) carried more total system and domestic passengers in the first three months of 2008 than any other U.S payday loans in one hour. airline. American Airlines carried the most international passengers.
The Bank of Japan is watching the risk that higher oil and food prices will threaten economic growth as well as fan people's inflation expectations, Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said after the central bank kept rates on hold.
Shirakawa and his six colleagues left the overnight lending rate at 0.5 percent, the lowest among major economies, in a unanimous vote today in Tokyo.
Signs that higher prices are squeezing company earnings prompted the government to say this week that the nation's longest postwar expansion may be over. The bank today cut its evaluation of exports and corporate profits as a global slowdown crimps demand and surging costs erode margins.
“The Bank of Japan has no choice but to take a wait-and- see stance,'' said Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo. Economic conditions “rule out the possibility of raising rates, while a rate cut is difficult because the governor has repeatedly said monetary conditions are accommodative.''
The yen traded at 107.97 at per dollar at 5:16 p.m. in Tokyo from 107.65 before the rate decision was announced.
Companies are being forced to pass on higher costs as margins are suffering from elevated commodity prices, slowing growth. Price increases alone haven't been able to absorb the costs, causing profits to drop at the quickest pace in six years last quarter.
Terms of Trade
“We must watch the downside risk that deteriorating terms of trade will erode incomes and hurt domestic demand,'' Shirakawa said at a press conference after today's policy decision. “We need to monitor upside risks for prices relating to consumers' inflationary expectations and companies' price- setting actions.''
Producer-prices rose 4.7 percent in May, the fastest pace in almost three decades, the central bank said this week. Consumer prices advanced 0.9 percent in April, close to the fastest pace in a decade.
The bank kept its assessment of the economy unchanged in its monthly report today, reiterating that growth is slowing.
Recent data suggest the world's second-largest economy is cooling even after growth surged at an annual 4 percent rate in the first quarter. Household spending had its biggest drop in 19 months in April, factory production slumped and the unemployment rate rose in the month.
The country's economic expansion will probably slow to “near zero'' this quarter, according to Takehiro Sato, chief Japan economist at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo.
“The Bank of Japan will continue to put weight on the economy's downside risks unless it finds signs'' that costlier oil and food spur overall inflation, Sato said. “All the bank can do is to wait and see until the uncertainty in the economy is cleared.''
Only three of 34 economists who gave predictions through December said the bank will raise rates this year. The remaining 31 expect no change.
Higher inflation around the world is forcing Shirakawa's colleagues to signal rate increases. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week indicated the bank has finished cutting rates for now to fight rising prices.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on the next day that the ECB may raise interest rates as soon as next month.
Their stance changes may make it easier for the Bank of Japan to raise borrowing costs, which Shirakawa has said are “very low'' and “extremely accommodative.''
“The monetary policy stance may change towards the end of the year, not only in the U.S., but also in Japan,'' Teizo Taya, an adviser to Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo and a former Bank of Japan board member, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “There is the possibility that not only the U.S. but also Japan may start tightening their policy grip within the year.''
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the administration intends to keep pursuing a policy of "robust engagement" with China that will include filing unfair trade cases as needed and pressuring the Chinese to move more quickly to revalue their currency.
Paulson, delivering a speech outlining the goals of a high-level meeting the two countries will hold next week, said it was important for both nations to resist calls for erecting protectionist barriers.
"It is clear that our strategy for robust engagement with China — intensive dialogue but with resort to WTO dispute settlement and WTO-sanctioned trade remedies if needed — is more productive than protectionist policies or legislation," Paulson said in his prepared remarks.
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