Stories for March 2005

Thursday, March 31

Fluor Workers in BP Blast Named

The Galveston County medical examiner released the names of three Fluor Corp. workers killed in last week's explosion and fire at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas.

Western Digital Soars on Outlook

Shares of Western Digital Corp. surged nearly 14.2% Thursday after the disk-drive maker told investors that it would beat sales and profit forecasts in the March quarter on higher-than-expected prices for its desktop hard drives.

Spending Recovers, Jobless Claims Jump

U.S. consumer spending advanced 0.5% in February and underlying inflation slowed, government data showed on Thursday, but weekly jobless claims posted an unexpected jump.

World Bank OKs Wolfowitz as New Prez

The World Bank on Thursday unanimously confirmed Paul Wolfowitz as its president despite quiet misgivings by some members over the deputy defense secretary's role as the Bush administration's architect of the Iraq war.

Oil Jumps a Dollar, Back Over $55

Oil surged back above $55 a barrel on Thursday as Goldman Sachs bank, the biggest trader of energy derivatives, said prices could surge all the way above $100.

U.S. Jobless Claims, Chicago PMI Jump

The U.S. economy seems to be on firm footing, according to reports on Thursday, with strong consumer spending, moderate inflation and a robust outlook for Midwest factories.

Wednesday, March 30

AIG Admits Improper Accounting

American International Group Inc. on Wednesday acknowledged accounting errors that could stretch back 14 years, including its treatment of a deal with Berkshire Hathaway that is at the center of federal and state investigations.

Merage Gives $30M to UCI

Paul Merage, who created a cultural icon,and a fortune,by inventing Hot Pockets, is giving $30 million to the business school at the University of California, Irvine.

SM & A; Raises Q1 Sales Mark

SM & A; Corp. said Wednesday it expects to post first-quarter revenue of $20 million, about 9% higher than a previous forecast.

Mortgage Applications Up Last Week

Applications for home mortgages increased last week as higher home purchasing activity offset a decrease in refinancing at a time when mortgage rates are rising, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Quantum Gets Piece of GM Deal

Irvine-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. is set to benefit from a hydrogen-powered auto deal General Motors Corp. said it won Wednesday from the Department of Energy.

Economic Growth Brisk, Profits Up

The economy ended 2004 with brisk momentum on the strongest surge of corporate profits in three years, the government reported on Wednesday, though there were signs that price pressures might be picking up.

Dollar Near 5-Month Peak vs. Yen

The dollar held near a five-month high against the yen on Wednesday as the U.S. currency's two-week rally lost power ahead of a raft of economic data.

PacifiCare Up for Medicare Drug Plan

Cypress-based PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. made it official Wednesday when the health plan operator said it would participate in the federal government's new Medicare prescription drug program.

Autobytel's Controller Resigns

Autobytel Inc., in the midst of a multiyear financial restatement and on the verge of being delisted from Nasdaq, said Wednesday its controller is leaving.

Oil Slips on Supply Swell

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed a surprisingly large increase in the nation's crude stockpiles last week to the highest in nearly three years.

Tuesday, March 29

Consumer Confidence Falls in March

U.S. consumer confidence dipped in March as higher gasoline prices dampened the moods of Americans, a report said on Tuesday.

Resources: Sarbanes Spurs Gains

Sarbanes-Oxley accounting reform helped Resources Connection Inc. report sales and earnings growth in its quarter ended Feb. 28.

HP Picks NCR's Hurd as CEO

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday named NCR Corp. Chief Executive Mark Hurd to lead the No. 2 computer maker, choosing a veteran technology manufacturing executive to take the place of ousted CEO and marketing expert Carly Fiorina.

Buffett: Not Briefed on AIG Details

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett never received detailed briefings on a deal with the American International Group that is now at the center of a mushrooming investigation, his company said on Tuesday.

MCI Accept's Verizon's $7.6B Offer

MCI Inc. said on Tuesday it accepted a revised takeover bid from Verizon Communications Inc. worth about $7.6 billion, rejecting a $8.45 billion offer from Qwest Communications International Inc.

Companies Delay Filings, Blame Sarbanes

A pair of Orange County businesses are among the hundreds of publicly traded companies that recently said they didn't meet a March 16 deadline to file their annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Parts Maker Wins Airbus Pact

Last year's $145 million acquisition of Buena Park-based Leach International Corp. is paying off for Esterline Corp. with a big contract from Airbus SAS.

Delta Details Jobs Cuts

Delta Air Lines outlined plans on Tuesday to reduce its technical operations staff by from 1,600 to 2,000 employees as the carrier continues to cut costs throughout the company.

Monday, March 28

AmerisourceBergen Cut Profit View

Drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen on Monday gave a disappointing earnings forecast through fiscal 2006 as it struggles with new contracts with manufacturers, sending its shares down nearly 12%.

La Vie en Rose Nabs Honor at Writers' Awards Dinner

La Vie en Rose picks up several awards at writers' event, in the Executive Dining column

Real Estate Watch: Manufacturing and Warehouse

Manufacturing and Warehouse Vacancy Falls in Q4;

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Meade Sees Smaller Yearly Loss

Irvine telescope maker Meade Instruments Corp.'s loss outlook for the 12 months ended Feb. 28 just got a little better.

Mexico Economy Expands in Jan.

Mexico's economic activity expanded 4% in January compared to the same month a year earlier, as the industrial and service sectors continued to drive growth, but farming lagged.

Hollister Looks for Surf Cred Through a Camera Lens

Hollister is looking for some surf cred, in the Marketplace column

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Lennar: Big Plans in Anaheim

Homebuilder Lennar Corp. quietly has bought nearly 30 properties near Angel Stadium of Anaheim with plans to transform a sleepy industrial district into 3,000 condominiums and apartments,nearly as many as the company plans for the former El Toro Marine ba

Who's Who at El Morro; Feds Take Over Register

Who's Who at El Morro; Feds Take Over Register

Disney Effect

Disney: A look at its 50-year impact

Court Considering Angels Name Change

An appeals court said Monday it would take under consideration the city of Anaheim's bid to reverse,at least temporarily,the Angels name change.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Domain, Others Inject $27M Into Dental Drug Startup

A big SoCal venture funding included the local office of Domain Associates, in the Healthcare column

LETTERS

Letters to the Editors - Government Spending; Steroids

Impac Mortgage Consolidating HQ in Irvine

Impac Mortgage plans to consolidate its headquarters in Irvine

The Rising Dollar,Canada's

U.S. dollar bulls, who have spent the last two weeks gleefully watching the greenback swim higher against its rivals, may not have noticed a smaller fish lurking in its wake.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

Dollar Up Broadly, Extending Gains

The dollar climbed across the board on Monday, supported by continuing bullishness surrounding the economy and expectations of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates.

Valeant Enlists Courteney Cox

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has tapped TV star Courteney Cox to market its Kinerase line of skin care products.

People

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Local Office Market Scores High on '05 M & M; Ranking

The local office market scored high on a Marcus & Millichap national ranking, in the Real Estate column

IntraLens Nabs Funding, CEO

Eye device maker IntraLens nabbed $12 million in venture funding

Allergan Signs Japan Marketing Pact

Irvine-based drug maker Allergan Inc. on Monday signed a licensing deal to develop and market its Posurdex back-of-the eye treatment implant with Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho Co. of Japan.

Biotech Small for Beckman, But Worth Fighting For

Beckman Coulter hopes a patent lawsuit against a rival is easier to unravel than the human genome

Interchange Taps Research Scientist to Improve Search

Interchange wants more science in its searches, in the Technology column

Lennar Plans 33-Story Condo Tower in Anaheim

Lennar has vertical housing plans for its Anaheim land grab

Quality Splitting Shares

Quality Systems Inc., an Irvine-based medical software company, on Monday officially distributed a previously announced two-for-one stock split before the market opened.

Powerwave Acquisition May See Investor Fight

Powerwave's pending acquisition of a Remec unit has drawn the ire of some shareholders

Friday, March 25

Fluor Workers Die in BP Blast

Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp. said Friday that three of its workers died in Wednesday's explosion and fire at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas.

Sheraton Anaheim Enlists Manager

The Sheraton Anaheim,one of Orange County's oldest and largest hotels,signed Modesto's Rim Hospitality to manage the 489-room hotel.

Financier Next Arts Center Chairman

Financier Michael Gordon has been tapped as the next chairman of the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

U.S. Dollar Extends Gains

The dollar edged up to a fresh six-week high against the euro and held near a six-week peak versus the yen on Friday, as investors calculated the currency would get a further boost from rising U.S. interest rates.

Powerwave Deal Draws Shareholder Ire

Santa Ana's Powerwave Technologies Inc. could face a shareholder battle over its proposed $118 million buy of the commercial wireless business of Remec Inc.

Angels Boost Fox TV Deal

The Angels nearly have filled out their TV lineup for 2005. Owner Arte Moreno's Angels Baseball LP reached an agreement with Fox Sports Net West on Thursday that adds 52 games to that network's previous TV deal.

Thursday, March 24

Oil Rises on Refinery Blast

Oil prices rose on Thursday after a deadly explosion at the third largest refinery in the United States triggered worries over gasoline supplies ahead of the summer driving season.

Pentagon Demand Boosts Northrop View

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. on Thursday raised its 2005 earnings outlook and said it expected continued strong demand from the Pentagon for its high-tech weapons.

ConAgra Profit Flat

ConAgra Foods Inc., which has a unit based in Irvine, on Thursday reported quarterly operating profit that was flat with last year as the company suffered from higher costs for ingredients and struggled with a new computer system and changes to its manufa

Chip Dip Hits SRS Labs

The sound coming from SRS Labs Inc.'s earnings announcement wasn't too sweet. Shares of SRS, which released its fourth-quarter earnings results Thursday afternoon, were down more than 9% to $4.3 in after-hours trading. Weakness in its chip unit was to bla

Quest to Pay $16M to Settle Suit

Aliso Viejo-based Quest Software Inc., a maker of software for managing databases, plans to pay $16 million plus royalties to Computer Associates International Inc. to settle a patent lawsuit.

Resorts Touting OC Coast at 'Oceanfront'

Ten resorts have formed a marketing group to sell coastal Orange County to wealthy travelers under the name "The Oceanfront."

Coming to the Web: Election Rules

The Federal Election Commission has begun the perilous process of including political blogs and Web sites in campaign finance rules that were created long before the Internet became such a powerful political tool, CNET News.com reported.

Quiksilver Splitting Shares

Huntington Beach-based surfwear maker Quiksilver Inc. said Thursday its board approved a two-for-one stock split.

Durable Goods Orders Weaker

Orders for long-lasting goods edged up an unexpectedly weak 0.3% last month as declining demand for a broad array of items was offset by strong aircraft orders, the government said on Thursday.

MTI Keeping Board at 6

Tustin-based MTI Technology Corp. plans to keep its board of directors at six members after losing three directors in the past three weeks, Chief Executive Thomas P. Raimondi said.

Jobless Claims Rise

The number of workers seeking first-time jobless compensation rose unexpectedly by 3,000 last week, according to a government report released on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 23

MTI Loses Directors in Canopy Fight

The struggle for control of a Utah investment company started by former Novell Inc. executive Ray Noorda has hit the board of Tustin-based MTI Technology Corp.

Mortgages Down Last Week

Applications for home mortgages decreased last week as purchasing and refinancing activity dropped due to an increase in mortgage rates, an industry group said on Wednesday.

EU Rejects Microsoft's Oversight Plan

Microsoft Corp. put itself on a collision course with European Union authorities on Wednesday in a dispute over the powers of a trustee who is to make sure the software giant stops violating antitrust law.

Wet Seal to Delay Results Release

Foothill Ranch-based Wet Seal Inc. said Wednesday it would delay the release of its fourth quarter and 2004 results until April 12. The teen apparel seller was set to release the results Thursday morning.

Oil Slides on Inventory Boost

Oil prices slid 4% on Wednesday as U.S. crude inventories rose to their highest level in nearly three years and a recovering dollar lured some fund money out of commodities.

Shares Down on Inflation Fears

Shares of Orange County's interest rate-sensitive companies fell Wednesday, following an inflationary surprise from the Federal Reserve Bank yesterday.

GM Could Kill a Brand

General Motors Corp., which issued a shock profit warning last week and has been losing market share, may phase out one of its weaker car brands if sales fail to meet projections, company Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said on Wednesday.

OC Home Prices Continue Advance

Orange County home prices continued to track higher in February, according to a report released Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 22

First American Selling Unit for $550M

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. said Tuesday it plans to sell its credit information unit to an affiliate for $550 million.

Fed Watchers Eye Language

The U.S. Federal Reserve was widely expected to lift interest rates on Tuesday to ward off inflation, but edgy financial markets will focus on what the Fed says, not what it does.

Interchange Plans HQ Move

Interchange Corp. said Tuesday it plans to double the size of its headquarters in a move from Laguna Hills to Irvine.

Energy Costs Prod Producer Prices

Big gains in food and energy costs pushed U.S. producer prices up a sharp 0.4% last month, but other prices remained largely in check as vehicle prices slumped, a government report showed on Tuesday.

Fed Raises Key Rate

The Federal Reserve raised U.S. interest rates a quarter percentage point on Tuesday for a seventh straight time and nodded to growing inflation concerns, while saying it should still be able to lift rates gradually.

Burn Victim Settles with Fluor Insurers

An apprentice technician who received burns on 60% of his body after an electrical explosion, settled a lawsuit this week against Aliso Viejo-based engineering services provider Fluor Corp. and IBM Corp.

OC Suicide in Utah's Canopy Saga

The daughter of former Novell Inc. executive Ray Noorda shot herself at her Huntington Beach home, just days after a court settlement was reached that would keep the family in control of Noorda's investment company, Canopy Group.

Quiksilver Paying $312M for Ski Maker

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. is buying France's Skis Rossignol SA for $312 million after first expressing interest in the family-owned ski maker late last year.

Monday, March 21

Real Estate Watch: North/Central County

North County's industrial market saw better vacancy and lease rates in the fourth quarter

IntraLens Nabs Funding, CEO

IntraLens Vision Inc., a Lake Forest-based eye device maker, has raised $12 million in venture funds and named a new chief executive.

Survey Says

Survey by Right Management Consultants of 2,500 out-of-work employees in the U.S. who are receiving services from the consulting firm

LETTERS

Medical Fund; $3 a Gallon?

Powermark Fears No Startup, Opens Technology Shop

MEDIA - Powermark fears no startup, in the Media & Marketing column

Blue Chips Fall Ahead of Fed Confab

U.S. blue-chip stocks fell on Monday as oil prices remained stubbornly high and investors showed nervousness ahead of the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates on Tuesday.

Ad Shops Eke Out Billings Gain, Add Workers

Ad agencies reported an uptick in billings last year

Frozen Dream: Ohio Ice Cream Maker Opens in Irvine

An Ohio ice cream maker has opened in Irvine, in the Executive Dining column

Kudos

Awards, Honors, Recognition, Announcements in O.C. Business

Oil Prices Move Higher

Oil prices moved back above $57 on Monday even though top world exporter Saudi Arabia said OPEC producers could decide at any time to add more supply to the market.

Ingram Micro Up on Q1 Guidance

Shares of Ingram Micro Inc. rose Monday after the technology bellwether said it's still on track to meet its first-quarter earnings expectations.

Rates Worry Wall Street

Blue-chip stocks ended lower on Monday, as interest-rate sensitive companies like Citigroup Inc. fell ahead of a likely interest-rate increase on Tuesday and high oil prices weighed. A few tech acquisitions helped limit the Nasdaq's losses.

Cardiac Science: Deal a Response to Viability Questions

Cardiac Science's merger is aimed at ending trash talk, in the Healthcare column

Gateway Talking Up Notebooks, Strength on Retail Side

Gateway is seeing a strong laptop computer market, in the Technology column

With Battle Lines Drawn, Turnout, Undecideds to Decide Tower Vote

The battle lines are drawn and turnout is key in Santa Ana's high-rise referendum

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Solid Contact

Interviews with ad executives who detail their 2005 outlook, how the industry bid system is changing and their favorite campaigns of last year

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Birtcher Anderson Goes North in Fullerton Office Buys

Birtcher Anderson bought two office towers in Fullerton, in the Real Estate column

MBNA Closing South County Site

MBNA Corp., the largest issuer of credit cards, is closing its 150-person office in Aliso Viejo, four years after executives with local ties brought the company's Western U.S. regional office here from San Francisco.

Fed Seen Bumping Interest Rates

Economists predict the Federal Open Market Committee will hike rates by a quarter of a percentage point Tuesday for the seventh consecutive policy-setting meeting, according to a MarketWatch report.

Conexant's Breakup: Investor Returns Elusive So Far

The lofty goal of boosting shareholder value doesn't come easy,just ask Conexant

IAC/Interactive to Buy AskJeeves

Internet conglomerate IAC/InterActiveCorp on Monday said it would buy Web search provider Ask Jeeves Inc. for $1.85 billion in stock in an effort to capitalize on growth in the Internet advertising and search markets.

Cave-in; Errant Shot; Coming Up

Cave-in; Errant Shot; Coming Up - By Rick Reiff

Coin Seller Backs 1031 Real Estate Venture

Coin seller John Saunders is backing a 1031 real estate venture

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

PEOPLE

Puentes Joins Hospital Association

Industry Pushes for Trade Zone Just Across County Line

The city of Industry is vying for a free trade zone

Last-Minute Bills Seek to Tax Ports for Pollution

Last month's legislative filing deadline saw a number of bills submitted that would tax ports for pollution

Developers: Planned High-Rise Condos Sold

Park-Irvine condo sales began on a second tower on Jamboree

Tales From the Crypt: Selling a Show at the Bowers Museum

The Bowers Museum lures visitors by attracting blockbuster exhibitions

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

PacifiCare's Asian American Program Latest in Diversity Push

PacifiCare's Asian American plan is the latest in a diversity push

Friday, March 18

Broadcom Wraps Up Buy

Irvine's Broadcom Corp. on Friday said it completed its buy of Santa Clara-based Zeevo Inc., a designer of chips for wireless audio headsets, for $32 million in cash and stock.

U.S. Dollar Up vs. Euro

The dollar rose more than half a percent against the euro early Friday as traders looked ahead to next week's U.S. central bank meeting and decided the greenback's slide over the past month had gone far enough.

Morey, of Surf Fame, Leaving OC

Tom Morey, a 30-year veteran in the surf industry, is relocating his surfboard manufacturing company to Oceanside.

Wal-Mart: $11 Mln Settlement

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Friday said it would pay a record $11 million to settle a civil probe by U.S. authorities into allegations it knowingly hired floor-cleaning contractors who employed illegal residents.

OC Employment Gains in Feb.

Orange County's solid employment picture brightened further in February, with the unemployment rate sinking versus a year ago, according to a state report Friday.

Consumer Sentiment Off in March

U.S. consumers became less upbeat in early March as rising gasoline costs made Americans more uneasy about the economy, a report said on Friday.

FDA Probe Knocks Glaxo

GlaxoSmithKline PLC shares fell Friday on fears Europe's biggest drugmaker could face a deeper probe into manufacturing defects at a plant in Puerto Rico and a possible big fine.

Wolfowitz: No World Bank 'Regime Change'

Paul Wolfowitz, the controversial U.S. choice to head the World Bank, vowed on Friday there would be no "regime change" at the bank and hit back at critics who said he was a bad choice for the job.

Siemens Paying $1B for CTI Molecular

Siemens AG said on Friday it will buy CTI Molecular Imaging Inc. for about $1 billion as it moves to bring its longtime PET scanner partner in house.

First American Slumps on Profit Worries

Santa Ana-based First American Corp.'s stock fell 10% in early Friday trading over worries about lower prices and regulatory concerns and what impact they'll have on profits.

Thursday, March 17

Oil Passes $57 a Barrel

Oil prices scaled fresh highs on Thursday, forcing OPEC to consider a second output increase just a day after its deal to raise supplies failed to halt crude's record-breaking advance.

SI Technologies Sale Still on Track

Tustin-based SI Technologies Inc. said Thursday it was still on track to be bought by Vishay Intertechnology Inc.

Beaten Down Stocks Take Breather

U.S. stocks ended mixed Thursday amid concern higher oil prices could slow economic growth, stoke inflation and accelerate the pace of future interest rate increases.

Comarco: $3.9M in San Diego Work

Irvine's Comarco Inc., best known for its gear for testing wireless phone networks, picked up some contracts for its other business, freeway call boxes.

Qwest Ups MCI Offer to $8.45B

Qwest Communications International Inc. on Thursday raised its takeover offer for MCI Inc. to $8.45 billion, and MCI said it expects to respond to the offer by March 28.

Biolase Delays Annual Report Filing

Biolase Technology Inc., a San Clemente-based dental laser maker, said Thursday it won't meet its 2004 annual report filing deadline.

Jobless Claims Fall Last Week

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell 10,000 last week, largely in line with expectations, a government report showed on Thursday.

KKR to Buy Toys 'R' Us for $5.7B

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Bain Capital and Vornado Realty Trust have agreed to buy retailer Toys 'R' Us Inc. for about $5.7 billion, sources close to the process said on Thursday.

U.S. Trade Rep Named

President Bush, facing a tough battle in Congress over a controversial trade deal with Central America, turned to a Capitol Hill veteran on Thursday to be his next U.S. trade representative.

Wednesday, March 16

First Vietnamese Ups Startup Offering

Westminster-based First Vietnamese American Bank said on Wednesday it got regulatory approval to raise its fund-raising target.

Verizon Criticizes Qwest's MCI Bid

Verizon Communications Inc. on Wednesday criticized Qwest Communications International Inc.'s $8 billion bid for MCI Inc., saying Qwest's finances were weak and it could not prove its claims of savings from buying MCI.

Automakers Fall on GM Warning

Shares of automakers fell before the bell on Wednesday after General Motors Corp., the largest automaker, warned of a hefty quarterly loss on significant weakness in its North American automobile operations.

Correa Questions Angels Bus Ads

Putting civic pride above business, Orange County Supervisor Lou Correa is questioning whether the Orange County Transportation Authority should accept advertising from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Current Account Widens, Housing Rises

The current account deficit widened more than expected in the fourth quarter to a record $188 billion, while a separate report showed housing starts climbed to a 21-year high in February.

St. John Knits Sales, Profits Down

Privately held St. John Knits International Inc. provided a peek into its operations Wednesday,the results weren't so hot.

Viacom Explores Breakup

Viacom Inc. on Wednesday said it is exploring the division of its business into separate publicly traded companies to boost the value of its shares. The company plans to announce further details regarding the possible separation in the second quarter of 2

Developers: Planned High-Rise Units Sold

Developers of two planned high-rises in Irvine said Wednesday they have sold about 90 condominiums of 101 units before building them.

Oil Spike, GM Warning Hit Stocks

U.S. stocks tumbled on Wednesday as crude oil futures rocketed to an all-time high and General Motors Corp. warned that its 2005 earnings will be as much as 80 percent below its previous forecast.

Tuesday, March 15

WorldCom's Ex-CEO Found Guilty

Former WorldCom Inc. Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers, who built a small Mississippi-based long distance company into a telecommunications powerhouse, was found guilty on Tuesday of all nine criminal counts related to an accounting scandal that cost investo

Stocks Dip on Gloomy Chip Outlook

Wall Street bogged down in uninspired trading Tuesday, with investors sending stocks lower as they tried to reconcile solid economic and earnings news, reports of anthrax discovered at the Pentagon, and a gloomy outlook on semiconductor stocks.

Report: Recession Likely By 2006

With the economy running out of growth drivers, another recession is likely to hit the U.S. economy as early as 2006, according to the annual Anderson Forecast at UCLA.

Oil Eases

World oil prices fell slightly on Tuesday on the possibility of an OPEC output rise, but the weakness was tempered by Saudi Arabia's projection of a substantial demand increase later this year.

Court: Angels Must Show Cause

The state appeals court said Tuesday that the Angels must show why it shouldn't side with the city of Anaheim and bar the use of "Los Angeles" in the franchise's name until the city's lawsuit is heard in the fall.

Ameriquest Agrees to Settle Charges

Orange-based lender Ameriquest Mortgage Co. has agreed to pay up to $50 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by borrowers in California and three other states, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Edwards Testing Less-Invasive Valve

Irvine heart valve maker Edwards Lifesciences Corp. has entered a critical phase in the development of a product it sees playing a key role in future heart surgeries.

Court: Nursing Rules Now

The Schwarzenegger administration and hospital industry have vowed to appeal a judge's order that hospitals must immediately provide one nurse for each five patients.

Auto Sales Rebound; Cash Flows In

Retail sales rose 0.5% in February as the auto sector rebounded from a weak January, while net inflows of capital into U.S. assets surged to a larger-than-expected $91.5 billion in January.

Monday, March 14

Eisner Out, Iger In

Walt Disney Co. ended its contentious search for a new leader without leaving the house that Mickey Mouse built, naming current company president Robert Iger to succeed chief executive Michael Eisner, who will step down a year before he planned.

Tattered Image

America's tattered image, a Viewpoint by Eldon Griffiths

Fifi Chao Picks Jim Hall of The Clubhouse

Fifi Chao Picks Jim Hall of The Clubhouse

Allergan's Schiavo: Arguably Top Businesswoman Here

Allergan's Jacqueline Schiavo, one of the county's top-ranking businesswomen, is retiring after 25 years with the company, in the Healthcare column

Arte Told 'L.A.,' Register Don't Mix; Eldon's Spilt Drink

Arte Told 'L.A.,' Register Don't Mix; Eldon's Spilt Drink

Saudi Calls on OPEC to Raise Output

Leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia on Monday called for a modest increase in cartel supplies that could help ease oil prices from near-record highs.

Decker: Contract Through 2006

Newport Beach-based Conexant Systems Inc. extended Chief Executive Dwight Decker's contract at the chipmaker through 2006, according to a regulatory filing Monday.

Eyeonics Founded by Medical Whiz, Money Man

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS - Andy Corley and Dr. Stuart Cumming of Eyeonics

New Century's Park Place Move in Writing, More Seen

New Century formalized part of its expansion to the Park Place office complex, in the Real Estate column

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

New Majority Taps Folino as Chair

In 2003, the socially moderate Republicans making up the New Majority got their dream candidate in Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now they've got an incoming chairman who's got the governor's ear.

Wither Interplay?

Interplay has dwindled to a shadow of its former self

CAR TALLY - Fletcher Tops Auto List; BMWs Move Up

ABOUT THE LIST - Luxury autos helped dealers post sales gains last year

Hey, Didn't That Guy Park My Car at the Airport?

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS - Gill Barnett of Parking Concepts

Quantum Signs $60M Parts Deal

Irvine-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. has inked a parts contract worth up to $60 million in revenue this year, the company said Monday.

Disney Stock Up on Iger Naming

Wall Street on Monday applauded Walt Disney Co.'s plan to elevate company President Robert Iger to the top spot, succeeding longtime Chief Executive Michael Eisner after months of wrangling.

Weak Demand Hits DDi

Tepid demand for printed circuit boards continues to play out at Anaheim-based DDi Corp.

Air Crash; Pension Problem

Air Crash; Pension Problem - by Rick Reiff

Standel: California, Aviation Bug Gave Rise to West Coast Charters

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS - Gary Standel of West Coast Charters

Irvine Sensors Wins $11M in Pacts

Irvine Sensors Corp. won government contracts worth up to $10.9 million, the Costa Mesa company said Monday.

Irvine Rethinks Plan for High-Rise Homes

The city of Irvine is rethinking its high-rise housing plans

Laptop computer sales growth is expected to cool this year, in the Technology colum

Mr. Handyman landed a part in Hollywood's Oscar basket, in the Media & Marketing column

Pacific Symphony Off to Europe

Pacific Symphony Off to Europe

Real Estate Watch: South County

South County Office Vacancy Takes Big Dip

Powerwave Buying Products, Plants

Santa Ana-based Powerwave Technologies Inc., a maker of amplifiers for wireless networks, is paying $118 million in stock and cash for products and plants from Del Mar-based Remec Inc.

Yard House: Hundreds of Taps, $65M in Sales

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS - Steele Platt of the Yard House restaurant,

Report: Mobile PC Sales Growth Set to Cool This Year

Laptop computer sales growth is expected to cool this year, in the Technology column

Bitfone's Wang Courts Big Names as They Court Him

EXCELLENCE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARDS - Gene Wang of Bitfone

Friday, March 11

Trade Gap Widened in January

A surge in imports of consumer goods pushed the U.S. trade deficit to a wider-than-expected $58.3 billion in January, the second biggest on record, the government said on Friday.

Dollar Sinks, Then Recovers

The dollar weakened sharply in early New York trading on Friday after the release of U.S. trade data but rebounded almost as quickly in volatile trading on a wave of profit-taking and short-covering.

Dollar Falls on Trade Data

The dollar weakened in volatile trading on Friday after a report showed the U.S. trade deficit widening in January to its second largest on record.

Ingram Micro Rival Tech Data: 'Every Order Hotly Contested'

Tech Data Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Raymund echoed recently expressed sentiments of Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc. and others, describing the pricing environment as extremely competitive.

Quiksilver Rises on Outlook, Upgrade

Shares of surfwear maker Quiksilver Inc. rose 7% Friday after the company posted big sales and profit gains in the first quarter and raised its expectations for 2005.

Qwest to Sweeten MCI Bid

Qwest Communications International Inc. is expected to hike its $8 billion takeover offer for long-distance telephone and data services company MCI Inc., sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Friday.

Wither Interplay?

Like some of the games Irvine-based Interplay Entertainment Inc. used to produce, the company is shrouded in mystery these days.

Thursday, March 10

Quiksilver Ups 2005 Expectations

Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver Inc. posted solid first-quarter results Thursday afternoon and raised its earnings outlook for 2005.

William Lyon Subpoenaed in Title Probe

The state insurance commissioner has subpoenaed Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes Inc., along with several other homebuilders, in a probe into whether title insurers paid kickbacks for business referrals.

30-Year Mortgage at 7-Month High

Interest rates on 30- and 15-year mortgages rose to their highest levels since last August, according to a report issued on Thursday by mortgage finance company Freddie Mac.

Jobless Claims Up More Than Expected

The number of American applying for first-time jobless benefits exceeded expectations, climbing 17,000 last week to its highest level in two months, a government report showed on Thursday.

Microsoft Buying Groove

Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, on Thursday said it would buy Groove Networks Inc. to expand its Office software business with an application that lets groups of people work together regardless of location.

DaimlerChrysler, Mitsubishi Settle Row

DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. have reached a final settlement in a row over defect cover-ups at the Mitsubishi Fuso trucks unit, the German-American carmaker said on Thursday.

Intel Raises Revenue Forecast

Intel Corp., the world's largest chip maker, on Thursday raised the mid-point of its first-quarter revenue forecast by $200 million and boosted its profit margin target, citing lower manufacturing costs.

GDP Forecast Up

Top forecasters bumped up their outlook for U.S. economic growth in the first quarter and the whole of 2005, but inflation expectations were unchanged, a survey released on Thursday showed.

Toshiba to Update Laptop Computers

Toshiba Corp.'s U.S. computer unit, based in Irvine, plans to update its laptop computer line starting next month.

MSC To Pink Sheets

Shares of Santa Ana software maker MSC.Software Corp. made their expected debut on the low-profile Pink Sheets exchange on Friday.

Wednesday, March 9

Fetter Out at St. John

Bruce Fetter, an operations whiz who played a leading role at Irvine-based St. John Knits International Inc. in the past three years, is leaving the women's clothier.

Oil Nears High on East Coast Cold

U.S. crude oil prices came within pennies of their record peak on Wednesday before slipping back, as worries over demand growth overshadowed rising stockpile levels in the United States.

IBM, Lenovo Deal Passes U.S. Review

China's Lenovo Group Ltd. won clearance from a U.S. national security oversight committee to acquire IBM Corp.'s computer business, the companies said on Wednesday, overcoming resistance from some U.S. lawmakers.

Drug Sales Growth Slows

Worldwide prescription drug industry sales last year grew at their slowest rate since 1998, hurt by government pressure to reduce prices, concerns over drug safety and competition from cheap generics, according to data from IMS Health.

Broadcom Opens Europe Design Center

Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp. plans to open a design center in Europe, the company's first there.

Rate Concerns Hit Builder Shares

Local homebuilder stocks continued to bleed Wednesday on interest rate concerns.

Another Lawsuit for Corinthian

Santa Ana-based college operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. said on Wednesday its faces another lawsuit over accreditation.

Montage Wins in Beverly Hills

Laguna Beach-based Montage Hotels & Resorts LLC won a hard-fought battle in Tuesday's voting in Beverly Hills.

Mortgage Applications Down Last Week

Applications for home mortgages decreased slightly last week as a drop in home refinancing activity for the second straight week offset an increase in purchasing, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 8

Bearish Tone Hits Bond Market

Longer-term U.S. Treasury debt prices slid on Tuesday as a spurt of speculative and technical selling erased recent gains and turned the market's mood decidedly bearish.

Integrated Wraps Up Hospital Buy

Costa Mesa's Integrated Healthcare Holdings Inc. on Tuesday wrapped up its $70 million buy of four hospitals from embattled Tenet Healthcare Corp.

Angels vs. Anaheim Trial Date Set

Anaheim vs. Angels is going to trial Nov. 7. Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Polos set the date for a jury trial on Tuesday.

Chipmaker Warnings Raise Caution

A trio of top chip companies had run-ins with bad news during the past several days, suggesting that the inventory glut that plagued chip companies in the second half of 2004 may not be fully worked out.

DPAC to Combine With Ohio's QuaTech

Garden Grove-based DPAC Technologies Corp. said Tuesday it plans to combine with Hudson, Ohio-based QuaTech Inc. in an all-stock deal.

Bitfone Gets Qualcomm Investment

Laguna Niguel-based Bitfone Corp. has scored another big-name investor: Qualcomm Inc.

Texas Instruments Misses Profits

Texas Instruments Inc., the world's largest maker of chips for cellular phones, trimmed its quarterly profit forecast on Monday after its emerging big-screen TV chip business hit a wall.

Analysts Say Boeing Should Hire Within

Boeing Co. should look to replace fired Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher from within its own ranks rather than recruiting an outsider who could trigger a talent exodus at the scandal-rocked aircraft maker, analysts told Reuters.

Taco Bell Boycott Ends

Florida farm workers have ended a three-year boycott of Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp., the company said Tuesday. The fast-food chain said it signed a deal to improve working conditions for Florida farm workers supplying tomatoes to Taco Bell.

Monday, March 7

Interchange Makes Second Acquisition

Laguna Hills-based Interchange Corp. on Monday said it bought the domain name of a local-search Web site,the company's second acquisition in the past three weeks.

Capital Group Readies to Build Irvine Campus

Capital Group is readying to build a 500,000-square-foot campus

Times, Register Eye Direct Advertisers With Joint Venture

Junk ads have tempered Orange County's fiercest media rivalry

Foreign Investors Remain on the Sidelines Despite the Falling Dollar

Tom Bohlinger is finding that low as the dollar might be these days, it's not generating increased interest among foreign buyers of U.S. real estate.

4201 Bonita Place in Fullerton Tops 2004 Sales at $24.3 Million

Largest OC industrial sales in 2004

Coming Up Short: Another Factor in Interchange's Stock

Interchange shorts have their day in the sun, in the Technology column

HEAVY HITTER

Maguire Dominated an Active Office Market Last Year With Several Top Acquisitions

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Summaries of other business news and top stories by industry; Economic Indicators

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Countrywide Launching Insurance Unit in Irvine

Countrywide Financial is tapping its Irvine unit to launch a commercial insurance brokerage business

Global Competition Ends Fullerton Textile Factory

The end of textile import quotas was the end of Springs Industries in Fullerton

Real Estate Watch: Airport Area/Central Coast

The spike in office rents has hit the airport area. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Gryphon to Buy Consolidated Fire

Consolidated Fire Protection LLC in Irvine is set to trade hands.

Boeing Fires CEO After 'Relationship'

Boeing Co. Monday said it fired Chief Executive Harry Stonecipher, after a probe into a personal relationship he had with a female executive that it said "reflected poorly" on the No. 1 U.S. aircraft maker.

State of the State

Business lobbyists are most concerned with healthcare proposals in the state Legislature, in State of the State by Howard Fine

Village at Orange Sold for $100 Million in Top Deal in 2004

Largest OC retail sales in 2004

Maguire Nabs Park Place Parcels for $260M in Top 2004 Sale

Largest OC office sales in 2004

LuLu's Back in OC, Battling With Costs

A maker of desserts has moved her business back to OC

A Fine Pour: Salt Creek Grille Sets Nickel Wine Dinner

Salt Creek Grille to feature Nickel & Nickel wines at special dinner, in the Executive Dining column

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

LETTER

WEB SAVVY

PEOPLE

Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Gone to the Dogs

Orange County loves its dogs, a Viewpoint by Michael Arnold Glueck

MARKET WATCH

Week's Best, Worst Performers; Roth OC50, Billion Dollar Club, OC Tech; Index Watch, 52-week Performance

Beckman's Garrett: Nursing Biomed, Managing Volatility

Beckman Coulter's new chief executive talks about growth

Cancer Study Boosts Peregrine

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc. got a boost Monday from a study showing an antibody equivalent to its Tarvacin drug slowed tumor growth by up to 90% in laboratory mice.

Home Depot Takes 447,005 Sq. Ft. in Buena Park in Top 2004 Deal

Largest OC industrial leases in 2004

Shelly Elevates Irvine BMW Manager to Operations VP

RETAIL - Shelly Automotive elevates manager to head of operations, in the Marketplace column

Edwards Looks to New Heart Valve, Stents for Growth

Edwards Lifesciences is looking to a new heart valve and stents for growth, in the Healthcare column

Home Loan Center Inks Biggest 2004 Deal With 161,344 Sq. Ft.

Largest OC office leases in 2004

Marketer, Angels Fan Hawks 'We Are Not LA' T-Shirts

MEDIA - An Angels fan's T-shirt: 'We Are Not LA,' in the Media & Marketing column

Total Sales Inch Higher, With Irvine Marriott Leading at $92.5 Million

Orange County hotel sales inched higher in 2004 for the first time since 1999.

Blast From Past: Ex-Editor in WSJ; Jao Joins Condi

Blast From Past: Ex-Editor in WSJ; Jao Joins Condi

Newport Beach Apartment Complex Sold

Largest OC apartment complex sales in 2004

Kingston Posts Big Sales Gain

Kingston Technology Corp., a privately held memory products maker, said Monday that 2004 sales grew 38% to $2.45 billion.

Tile King Bedrosian Could Be Planning Anaheim Move

Tile king Bedrosian could be planning a move to Anaheim, in the Real Estate column

Points of Light

People and businesses in Orange County doing extraordinary deeds

Otra Eyes Hispanics; Founder Has Beer Pedigree

Otra's looking to tap a growing segment of the Hispanic market with its beer

Windes & McClaughry Opens in Irvine

Long Beach's Windes & McClaughry has opened an Irvine office

Title Insurers Post Big Decline in Activity

Title Insurers Post Big Decline in Activity

Predicted Consolidation Could Hurt Sanmina's Local Plant, Help Others

There could be a shakeout in the printed circuit board industry

Friday, March 4

Trade Shifts Nix Fullerton Plant

The end of textile import quotas was the end of Springs Industries Inc. in Fullerton.

Ceradyne Ups 2005 Profit Outlook

Ceradyne Inc. closed 2004 on a high note and is bullish on 2005.

Gateway: At Profitability's Door?

This is the "show me" year for long-troubled PC maker Gateway of Irvine.

Jobs Data Fuels Stock Rally

U.S. stocks rallied Friday as better-than-expected jobs growth in February suggested the economy was growing at a steady pace with few signs of inflationary pressures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 90 points to 10,922, its highest level since J

William Lyon, Warmington, John Laing Named in Title Scheme

Sixteen homebuilders guaranteed business to Santa Ana title insurance company First American Corp. in exchange for kickbacks, Colorado insurance regulators told the Denver Post. Costa Mesa's Warmington Homes, William Lyon Homes and John Laing Homes, both

Report: Claim Jumper Up for Sale

Irvine-based Claim Jumper Enterprises Inc. is up for sale, according to a report at TheDeal.com on Friday.

Jan. Jobs Gain Best Since '01

Orange County posted its strongest January employment increase since 2001, the state Employment Development Department said Friday.

Standard Buys in Bakersfield

Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. said Friday it bought the Bakersfield operations of Probuilt Homes, scooping up 1,000 lots for homes in the area.

Mitsubishi, Yamaha See Recalls

Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Chrysler and Yamaha Motor Co., the world's second-largest motorcycle company, were hit with U.S. safety recalls, federal regulators said on Friday.

Thursday, March 3

Strong Payroll Growth Expected

After eight months of so-so job growth, the U.S. labor market probably added more than 200,000 net new jobs in February.

Report: Air Force to Lift Boeing Ban

The Air Force is set to lift an order that suspended Boeing Co. from getting satellite launch contracts since mid-2003, defense officials said on Thursday.

Feb. Sales Get Super Bowl Boost

A shift in the timing of the NFL Super Bowl boosted retailers' sales in February but the growth was tempered by winter storms later in the month and higher gasoline prices which kept consumers out of stores.

Oil Nears Record

U.S. oil futures surged within striking distance of a new record on Thursday but ended off their peaks after OPEC-member Nigeria said the cartel could raise production to rein in runaway prices.

Allergan's Schiavo Retiring

Jacqueline Schiavo, one of the highest-ranking women in business in Orange County, is retiring as an executive vice president of Allergan Inc.

Suit Seeks to Nix Cardiac Merger

Wolf Popper LLP said Thursday it filed a class-action lawsuit seeking to block a proposed merger between Irvine's Cardiac Science Inc. and Bothell, Wash.'s Quinton Cardiology Systems Inc.

Wet Seal Reports Sales Gain

Wet Seal Inc.'s downsizing could be paying off. The Foothill Ranch-based teen retailer said Thursday that sales at its continuing stores rose 16.4% in February. That's a reverse from a year earlier, when Wet Seal's same-store sales fell 12.4% in February.

Arnold Stumps in Santa Ana

Arnold Schwarzenegger brought his initiative bid to a Santa Ana Red Robin Restaurant on Thursday.

Global Chip Sales Strong in January

Global chip sales totaled $18.3 billion in January, down only slightly from December and up 17.5% from a year earlier, the Semiconductor Industry Association said.

Wednesday, March 2

Surfwear Shines on Wall Street

Surf and teen apparel companies had a good day on Wall Street Wednesday. Pacific Sunwear of California, Quiksilver and Wet Seal all posted share gains of 4% or more.

California Coastal: Q4 Sales, Profit Rise

Irvine-based California Coastal Communities Inc., a developer that's seeking to build on Huntington Beach's problematic Bolsa Chica wetlands, reported higher fourth-quarter profits and sales, despite selling fewer homes.

Gryphon to Buy Consolidated Fire

San Francisco-based private equity firm Gryphon Investors said Wednesday it plans to buy Irvine's Consolidated Fire Protection LLC from Costa Mesa-based Westar Capital LLC, Los Angeles-based Caltius Private Equity Partners and others.

Cherokee Sales Up, Profit Down

Tustin-based Cherokee International Corp., a maker of power supplies for computers and other electronics, said Wednesday its operating profit fell in the fourth quarter, despite a gain in sales.

No Brake for Rising Oil Prices

Swelling supplies of crude oil and gasoline in the U.S. have done nothing to discourage investors from buying up $50 oil, pointing up a widening disconnection between inventory levels and prices, analysts said on Wednesday.

Mercedes Vows to Keep Market Share

The head of the Mercedes car division of DaimlerChrysler said on Wednesday he expects to maintain the premium car's share of the U.S. market in 2005 despite weak sales in February.

Court Overturns Ruling Against Microsoft

A federal appeals court on Wednesday overturned a $521 million patent infringement ruling against Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, and ordered that the case be retried in a lower court.

Schwarzenegger Hits Ballot Trail

Declaring that state lawmakers "have not done their job," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger began collecting signatures for a series of statewide ballot measures that he said would "create true reform" in California.

Greenspan: Economy Sound

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Wednesday the U.S. economy is growing at a "reasonably good pace" but said the country must tackle its budget deficits, primarily through spending restraint.

Anaheim Wins Round Vs. Angels

The city of Anaheim finally notched a win in its naming battle with Angels Baseball LP. Late Wednesday afternoon, Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Polos rejected the Angels' request to throw out three of the four counts in the city's suit to block

Tuesday, March 1

Broadcom: Options Would've Driven Loss

Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp. said treating stock options as expenses would have cost some $677 million last year and resulted in a loss.

Marsh & McLennan Posts Loss

Insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Cos. on Tuesday posted a quarterly loss related to charges from a settlement of a bid-rigging scandal, and cut its dividend by half while warning of more job cuts.

Jan. Construction Spending Hits Record

Construction spending climbed 0.7% in January, topping expectations, as both private and public building hit record levels, a government report showed on Tuesday.

Profits Up, Orders Down for William Lyon

Profits for Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes Inc. doubled in the fourth quarter on higher prices for its homes. But the number of homes sold fell in the quarter.

MAI Rebukes Buyout Release

MAI Systems Corp., a Lake Forest maker of software for hotels and government agencies, engaged in a game of dueling press releases on Tuesday.

GM Auto Sales Disappoint

General Motors on Tuesday turned in disappointing U.S. sales for February, tempering what had looked to be a solid month following better-than-expected results from Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler.

Skilled Healthcare Sells Pharmacy Unit

Foothill Ranch's Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. is selling its pharmacy unit to Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred Healthcare Inc.

Mitsubishi Continues Slide

The Orange County arms of three Asian automakers posted gains in U.S. sales for February, while another, Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., continued its slide.

PacSun: Last Quarter Under Weaver

Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. said Tuesday that sales rose 16.2% in the fourth quarter, its last period under longtime chief executive Greg Weaver.

Chipmakers Lead Stock Rebound

U.S. stocks ended higher Tuesday as investors welcomed solid manufacturing data, stabilizing oil prices and a slew of positive analyst reports, notably an upbeat J.P. Morgan note on the semiconductor sector.