We published the wrong mutual funds tables in Monday's Year End Markets report. While stock tables were correct, we inadvertently used old data for the mutual funds. On pages 5-10D today, you'll find the correct 2004 mutual fund results. In addition, we are republishing the 2004 Stock Market in Review on page 2D. Some labels on that chart were incorrect Monday. We regret the errors and apologize for any inconvenience they might have caused you.
POE SUBSIDIARIES UNDER REVIEW: Southern Family Insurance and Atlantic Preferred Insurance, subsidiaries of Tampa's Poe Financial Group, have been placed under review with negative implications by ratings company A.M. Best Co. Southern Family has been downgraded from B++ to B+. A.M. Best said the downgrade reflects a deterioration in capital after Florida's four-hurricane summer. James Wurdeman, Poe Financial president and chief executive, could not be reached for comment Monday.
BANKATLANTIC BEGINS LATE-NIGHT BANKING: BankAtlantic has begun offering late-night banking in Tampa. The South Florida-based bank is now open from 7:30 a.m. until midnight seven days a week at select Florida branches, including the one at 8001 N Dale Mabry. The bank has 73 branches around the state, including a few in the bay area.
WAL-MART SALES UP 3 PERCENT: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Monday it expects its December sales to have risen 3 percent at stores open at least a year, a figure that is at the top end of the company's sales estimate. Wal-Mart showed same-store sales growth of a slim 0.7 percent for November. After slower-than-expected post-Thanksgiving sales, the company cut prices on specific items and launched an ad blitz promoting the cuts. Same-store sales measure sales at stores that have been open for a year. Also Monday, Kmart said its same-store sales for November and December declined by 4.6 percent, with December same-store sales down about 2.6 percent. But Kmart said that represented an improvement on the trends from earlier in the year.
HALLIBURTON'S ASBESTOS CLAIMS FINALIZED: Halliburton Co.'s $4.17-billion settlement of thousands of asbestos claims has been finalized, the company said Monday. The Houston oil services conglomerate's construction and engineering subsidiary, KBR, and other subsidiaries that filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2003 as part of the settlement have emerged from Chapter 11. The reorganization plan went into effect on Friday.
AMEX SALE COMPLETE: The National Association of Securities Dealers has completed its sale of the American Stock Exchange to members of the exchange, AMEX said Monday. The transaction completes a long journey for the New York stock and options exchange, which was bought by NASD in 1998 and has struggled to compete with larger exchanges and more automated markets since the purchase. Chicago buyout firm Golder Rauner LLC backed out of an agreement last year to buy the exchange.
UNITED REACHES DEALS WITH UNIONS: United Airlines said Monday it has reached agreements on labor contracts with two small employee unions representing about 200 air traffic controllers and meteorologists. The tentative agreements are up for ratification votes by the 175 members of the Professional Airline Flight Control Association and 20 members of the Transport Workers Union.
T-BILL RATES MIXED: Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities were mixed in Monday's auction. The Treasury Department sold $19-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 2.275 percent, up from 2.225 percent last week. An additional $17-billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 2.560 percent, unchanged from last week's auction.