Stories for April 2006

Friday, April 28

Consumer Sentiment Down in April

U.S. consumer sentiment fell in April as concerns about higher gasoline prices overshadowed a buoyant stock market and strong job growth, a report showed on Friday.

Economy Posts Strong Growth

The U.S. economy grew at its strongest rate in 2-1/2 years during the first quarter on strong spending and investment and a key gauge of price rises moderated from the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

Microsoft Shares Tumble

Shares of Microsoft Corp. on Friday tumbled 11%, their biggest drop in more than five years, after the software company said greater investment to take on rivals would hurt future earnings.

Mild Expectations for May Day Protest

A majority of California companies plan for business as usual on May 1 despite a scheduled workers' boycott to protest the immigration bill now in Congress, according to a survey by a human resources association.

Snyder: Not Candidate for Gateway CEO

Irvine-based Gateway Inc.'s interim chief executive, Rick Snyder, has taken his name out of the running to become the permanent chief executive of the computer maker.

Change Roils OC 50, Business Journal's Yearbook of County's Movers, Shakers

In the well-ordered world of OC 50,the Business Journal's annual listing of the most influential people here,this year's group represents a shake-up.

Thursday, April 27

Conexant Gains on Set-Top Box Sales

Strong sales of cable set-top boxes spurred sales and profit gains at Newport Beach-based Conexant Systems Inc. in the quarter ended March 31, the company said Thursday.

Microsoft Profit Rises

Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, posted a 16% rise in quarterly net profit on Thursday, boosted in part by strong sales of its business management and database software.

Volcom Beats Views, Ups Outlook

Costa Mesa-based Volcom Inc. reported higher first-quarter operating profit, beat forecasts for net income and raised its outlook for the current quarter and the rest of the year on Thursday.

Big Three Execs Meeting Bush

The chief executives of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit will meet with President Bush, a Ford spokesman said on Thursday.

China Raises Rates to Slow Economy

China took global markets by surprise on Thursday by raising interest rates for the first time in 18 months to slow a boom in credit and investment that risks destabilizing the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Drugmakers See Q1 Increases

GlaxoSmithKline PLC, the world's second largest drugmaker, said Thursday that strong sales propelled double-digit earnings growth in the first quarter as did its British rival AstraZeneca PLC, which raised its earnings outlook for the year.

Legal Costs Send Gateway to Loss

Legal expenses sent Gateway Inc. to a loss during an eventful first quarter that saw its former chief executive step down.

Sony's Profit Jumps

Sony Corp. posted a 68% rise in annual operating profit on Thursday on investment gains and robust sales of flat TVs, but forecast a surprisingly sharp fall this business year.

Fed Might Pause on Rates

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday said for the first time the central bank could at some point pause its 22-month interest-rate raising campaign to allow time to divine the economy's path.

Wednesday, April 26

First American Profit Off

Title insurer First American Corp reported lower than expected first-quarter profit as costs related to the company's diversification push and title loss provisions offset higher revenue.

Microsoft: New Attack on EU Ruling

Microsoft opened its attack against European Union antitrust findings that it withheld information from rivals as a court hearing pitting the software giant against the EU entered a third day on Wednesday.

Fed: Housing Slowing in Most Regions

Home sales and construction are slowing in most regions of the nation, according to anecdotal accounts reported by the 12 Federal Reserve banks on Wednesday in the Beige Book.

Pepsico Beats Estimates

PepsiCo Inc. on Wednesday posted better-than-expected earnings as strong sales of Gatorade sports drinks, Aquafina water and Sun Chips snacks, offset the impact of higher energy and ingredient costs and a late Easter holiday.

Epicor Acquisition Impacts Q1

Irvine-based Epicor Software Corp. said Wednesday that its first-quarter sales rose 27% to $85 million, aided by a big acquisition that cut into profits.

FileNet Outlook Disappoints

FileNet Corp. Wednesday reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings for the first quarter but the software maker's outlook was below expectations for the current quarter.

Boeing Up on Plane Sales

Boeing Co. said on Wednesday that first-quarter profit rose a greater-than-expected 29% as the No. 1 U.S. aerospace company recorded higher sales of its commercial planes.

Microsoft Plans to Buy Massive

Microsoft Corp. plans to pay $200 million to $400 million for Massive Inc., a privately held company that places ads in video games, the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 25

Apria Again Dinged by Medicare

Apria Healthcare Group Inc. of Lake Forest said Tuesday that its first-quarter profit fell 36% from a year earlier. The cause was no surprise to the provider of home healthcare services: lower Medicare payments from the federal government.

Fed pause Could Prove Temporary

Wall Street is growing excited about a possible end to the Federal Reserve's string of interest-rate increases, but inflationary rumblings suggest investors may be jumping the gun.

Existing Home Sales Edge Up in March

Sales of previously owned homes edged up in March, but the backlog of unsold homes still hit a record high, raising concerns that the once-booming housing market could be in for a rougher landing than expected.

Amazon Posts Lower Profit

Amazon.com Inc., on Tuesday posted a lower quarterly net profit as operating margins narrowed.

EU Questions Microsoft Bundling

A European Union judge questioned on Tuesday whether Microsoft's bundling of its media player with its Windows system, a move the European Commission deemed illegal, really worried consumers and computer makers.

Consumer Confidence Rises in April

The economy showed signs of resilience on Tuesday, despite rising prices at the gas pump, adding fuel to speculation that the Federal Reserve would continue on its course of raising interest rates.

Detached Home Price Slips to $717K

The median price for a detached Orange County home was $717,320 in March, down 0.5% from February, but up 7.5% from a year earlier, the California Association of Realtors said on Tuesday.

AT & T; Beats Estimates

AT & T; Inc. on Tuesday posted a better-than-expected rise in quarterly earnings, boosted by its Cingular Wireless joint venture and surprisingly strong profits from its traditional phone business.

Ingram Beats Wall Street, Own Views

Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc., the world's largest distributor of technology products, beat its own guidance and Wall Street's expectations with results for the first quarter.

Monday, April 24

Heil Brice Works Ketel One, L.A. Visitor Ad Accounts

Heil Brice is working on ads for Ketel One Vodka's signing program, in the Media & Marketing column

Irvine's US Modular Readying to Go Public

US Modular is using a reverse merger to go public

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements

For Toshiba, It's a Business Affair

Toshiba is looking to jump-start its laptop computer sales to businesses with higher reseller rebates

Businesses Face Southern California Edison Rate Hike

Allergan's Botox drug might get a tax break, in Regulation Watch

MARKET WATCH

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

San Clemente's Argus Buys Two High-Rises in Atlanta

San Clemente's Argus Realty went to Atlanta for some high-rise office acquisitions, in the Real Estate column

Wireless Chipmaker on a Roll, Poised for Market Share Gains

Skyworks, poised to grab market share, is looking up on Wall Street, in the Technology column

Summit Hotel, Gym Now a Go in Aliso

Hotel and gym complex at the Summit in Aliso Viejo is ready to start construction after some delays

H & #228;stens Handmade Beds Set for Launch at Fashion Island

Swedish beds selling for up to $20,000 are coming to Fashion Island, in the Marketplace column

Costa Mesa Ritz Lures Condominium Developers

At least six condo tower projects are in the works for Costa Mesa's arts area.

Legal Sector Latest to Jump on India Outsourcing Trend

An Irvine startup is outsourcing legal work to India

Jazz Semi Files for IPO

Newport Beach-based Jazz Semiconductor Inc. is making its second run at the public markets, the company said Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bush in OC: 'Rational' Immigration Fixes

President Bush on Monday called for "rational" immigration reform before Orange County political and business leaders in Irvine while protesters from the Minuteman Project jeered outside.

Hines Plans to Redevelop Linksys Site

Another Irvine commercial building has been sold for redevelopment,only this time it's not likely to be for homes or condominiums.

Toll Road Backers Calling Tom Harman; Doti Dissed, Hugged

Toll Road Backers Calling Tom Harman; Doti Dissed, Hugged

TAX REFORM

Enough with the tax system, in Survey Says

I Say, Sage Eastbluff to Debut an Afternoon High Tea

Sage Eastbluff is going British with a high tea, in the Executive Dining column

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Smaller Pubcos See Less Loss, More Sales

OC's smaller public companies recorded a narrower collective loss on a gain in revenue

Putting Fine Arts Back in School

It's time to give schools' music and arts programs the backing they deserve, in They Say

ANCHORED TO OC

City National Bank's chief executive has ties to OC that go back to his childhood

New Wounds

Iraq veterans are returning with terrible wounds - a Viewpoint by Michael Arnold Glueck, Senior Fellow in Medicine at the Aretea Institute, a think tank in Seattle.

Real Estate Watch: Inland Empire

Inland Empire's office vacancy rate fell in the first quarter, though the industrial availability rate was flat. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

Valeant Looks to Hire for Key Drug Research Position

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is looking to fill a key research position, in the Healthcare column

Startup Bank Fortis First to Target Hispanics

Orange County's first Hispanic bank is being organized

KUDOS

A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Friday, April 21

Veolia Takes Over OCTA Bus Pact

A unit of Paris-based Veolia Environnement SA has replaced Laidlaw Transit Services Inc. to run the Orange County transit agency's bus service for the handicapped and elderly.

Survey: Economy Strong, Threats Loom

The U.S. economy is strong but price pressures and shortages of skilled labor are on the rise, according to a quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics released on Friday.

Unemployment Rate Falls in March

Orange County's unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in March, down from 3.9% a year ago.

Hotel, Gym Set to Break Ground

Construction of a hotel and gym in Aliso Viejo is set to start after being held up for a year while development plans were finalized.

Broadcom Hangover: Shares Off

Shares of Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. fell more than 4% early Friday after shares of the chipmaker got hit with a downgrade, despite topping analysts' estimates with quarterly results the day before.

Google Rivals Talk Strategy

EBay Inc. has had talks with both Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to determine whether one of them might be a suitable ally against common threats from Google Inc., the Wall Street Journal said on Friday.

Ford Restructuring Hits Income

Ford Motor Co. on Friday reported its biggest quarterly loss in over four years as it took $2.5 billion in pre-tax charges for jobs cuts and plant closings at the start of a massive restructuring effort.

Thursday, April 20

Sprint Nextel Buying UbiquiTel for $1B

Sprint Nextel Corp. has agreed to acquire UbiquiTel Inc. for $1 billion, continuing a campaign of buying up regional affiliates that have sued over last year's merger between Sprint and Nextel.

GM Posts Narrower Loss, Shares Rise

General Motors Corp. on Thursday posted its sixth straight quarterly loss as it took more than $1 billion in restructuring-related charges, but the company's stock shot higher as investors reacted to signs the automaker's turnaround was gaining traction.

Survey: Dell Sees PC Share Loss

Shares of Dell Inc., the world's biggest personal computer maker, fell more than 2% on Thursday after a survey showed the company's worldwide market share slipped for perhaps the first time.

Apria Distances Itself From Rotech

Lake Forest-based Apria Healthcare Group Inc. took the unusual step Thursday of responding to a statement from Orlando, Fla.-based competitor Rotech Healthcare Inc. on Medicare reimbursement rates.

SimpleTech to Beat Q1 Outlook

Shares of Santa Ana-based SimpleTech Inc., a memory products provider, shot up more than 9% Thursday morning after the company said it expects to beat earnings expectations in the first quarter.

Google Q1 Revenue Tops Views

Google Inc., the world's largest Web search supplier, on Thursday posted a better-than-expected 79% jump in revenue, fueled by market share gains in the Web advertising market, sending its shares up nearly 5%.

Nokia Q1 Results Beat Expectations

Mobile phone giant Nokia reported January-March earnings and sales above expectations on Thursday, boosted by strong demand for handsets around the world, sending its shares sharply higher.

Wednesday, April 19

Consumer Prices Rise in March

Soaring energy costs helped push consumer prices up a steep 0.4% last month, while rising apparel prices spurred core inflation more than expected, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Emulex Buying Aarohi for $39M

Costa Mesa-based Emulex Corp said Wednesday it plans to buy a San Jose networking company for $39 million in a move that gives it a base in India to grow.

Fluor Move Date Official

Fluor Corp.'s moving date is official: Monday, April 24.

Mortgage Demand Down

Mortgage applications fell for a second consecutive week, led by a decline in demand for home purchase loans, as interest rates reached new multiyear highs, an industry trade group said on Wednesday.

Pfizer Profit Jumps on Lower Costs

Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug maker, on Wednesday reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by lower costs, favorable taxes and the absence of big charges recorded last year for repatriating overseas profits.

Intel Profit Falls, Loses Market Share

Intel Corp. on Wednesday reported a lower quarterly profit as the world's top computer chip maker lost market share to rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

iPod Sales Fuel Apple's Profit Growth

Apple Computer Inc. on Wednesday posted a higher quarterly profit, helped by sales of its market-leading iPod digital music players that topped 8.5 million units.

Solarflare Buying Level 5

Irvine-based Solarflare Communications Inc. said Wednesday it plans to buy Sunnyvale-based Level 5 Networks Inc.

Tuesday, April 18

UnitedHealth: 2007 Profit Below View

Health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. on Tuesday forecast 2007 earnings below Wall Street estimates and fierce pricing for health plans, sending shares lower and overshadowing better-than-expected quarterly results.

Motorola Profit Down, Revenue Up

Motorola Inc., the world's second-biggest cellphone maker, on Tuesday said its first-quarter profit fell slightly due to stock option expenses but revenue rose on strong mobile phone sales.

IBM Profit Up Amid Lower Chip Sales

IBM, the world's biggest computer-services company, on Tuesday said quarterly profit rose amid lower costs and strong sales of advanced microprocessors for video game machines.

Forecast: Job Growth, Homes Drop

A growing number of unsold homes in Orange County fueled by higher interest rates and slower income growth may lead to a 5% decline in median home prices this year, according to California State University, Fullerton's 2006 economic forecast update on Tue

J & J; Profit Rises on Devices

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said first-quarter earnings rose 16%, helped by a break-up fee from its failed pact to acquire Guidant Corp. and higher sales of medical devices.

Qualcomm Profit, Revenue Increases

Qualcomm Inc. on Wednesday posted a higher fiscal second-quarter profit and revenue rose 34% on strong demand for its cell phone chips and technology licenses.

Downey: Housing Dip Hit Profit

Downey Financial Corp. said Tuesday that its profit fell 13.5% in the first quarter as the bank wrestled with rising interest rates and a slowing housing market.

March Home Prices Hit Record

Home prices in Orange County hit a new record in March, though sales volume continued to decline.

Producer Prices Tame, Housing Starts Off

Producer prices other than volatile food and energy costs posted their smallest gain in four months in March and housing starts tumbled, leading financial markets to cut bets on how far interest rates will rise.

Boston Scientific Profit Down

Boston Scientific Corp., which expects shortly to complete its acquisition of Guidant Corp., on Tuesday said quarterly net earnings fell 7.3% on slower sales of its devices to treat clogged heart arteries.

Monday, April 17

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

DEAL BAROMETER

Q1 Availability Rate Stabilizes, Rents Continue to Rise

Oakley Tweaks Macho Image to Lure Women to Brand

Oakley looks to lure female customers sans the macho image, in the Media & Marketing column

Citigroup Tops Views

Citigroup Inc. on Monday said first-quarter profit rose 4%, as record revenue from investment banking and international businesses offset weakness in U.S. consumer operations.

Fed Not Sold on June Rate Rise

Some Federal Reserve officials are not convinced of the need to raise interest rates beyond a widely expected increase at its next policy meeting in May, the Wall Street Journal reported.

May: From Landlord Maguire to Senior VP at Grubb

Greg May has jumped from Maguire Properties to Grubb & Ellis amid a dip in commission opportunities, in the Real Estate column

Things Sounding Good For Symphony; Haddad Relates American Dream

Things Sounding Good For Symphony; Haddad Relates American Dream

Tracksuit Chic: Fashion Island Gets Juicy

Juicy Couture is installing its loungewear act at Fashion Island, in the Marketplace column

Broadcom, Quest Swell Engineering Operations

Broadcom and QLogic are loading up on engineering workers

Fluor Readying for Move to Texas HQ With 'California' Feel; Some Opt Out

Fluor is readying for its move to a Dallas suburb

Boeing to Lay Off 900 Kan. Workers

Citing defense budget cuts and delays, Boeing Co. announced Monday it would restructure its Wichita operations and lay off about 900 workers, or about 25% of its current work force at the plant.

GENERAL PROFITABLE

Profits are up despite several challenges at local hospitals

Samsung Buyout Talk Spins Shares of Western Digital

Those Samsung rumors are churning shares of Western Digital, in the Technology column

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

WAITING GAME

Tenants in Limbo as Rates Rise and Vacancy Falls; Not Much Space in Pipeline

Wachovia Posts Higher Q1 Profit

Wachovia Corp., the nation's fourth-largest bank, said Monday its first-quarter profit rose 7%, boosted by strong fee income.

Land Holds Promise, Risks for Sares-Regis

Sares-Regis Group paid $47 million for 100 acres near Ontario International Airport, one of the last big parcels in the western Inland Empire

Stonehill Tavern: Wine, Tasmanian Trout, Berkshire Pigs

Stonehill Tavern is serving up Tasmanian trout, Berkshire pig and other tasty treats, in the Executive Dining column

Brokers Record Big Year on Hikes in Sale Prices, Rents

Brokers Record Big Year on Hikes in Sale Prices, Rents

Real Estate Watch: Mid-Counties

Industrial absorption spurred a fourth-quarter vacancy gain in the Mid-Counties region. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

US Metro Bank to Open in Garden Grove

A Korean-American bank is in the works for Garden Grove. US Metro would become the first independent bank based in the largely Korean and Vietnamese section of Garden Grove.

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Shifts From Generics to Its Own Drugs

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals is leaning on its generic unit to fund development of cancer treatments

MARKET WATCH

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

Economy Shows Signs of Slowing

The U.S. economy may be showing signs of fatigue after surging at the beginning of the year, reports showed on Monday, as energy prices climbed to record highs.

UK HQ Set for Experian, Decision Time for CEO

Experian has decided to put its headquarters in Britain,not Costa Mesa,when it's spun off as a public company

NATIONAL OFFICE OUTLOOK

Suburbs Rule, Manhattan, D.C. Business Districts Heat Up

Opus West to Build Third Tower

Opus West Corp. is set to break ground on a 13-story high-rise office building in Irvine, the company said Monday.

LETTERS

Proposition 82 gets a load of criticism, in Letters. PLUS Wireless Towers; OCTA Funding

REAL ESTATE DEALS

Sales and leases of offices, industrial buildings, retail space and apartments

Outsourcing Checks FileNet R & D; Costs

FileNet is sending work to India and China and cutting its development costs along the way

Startup Eyeing Garden Grove Bank Fray

US Metro is looking to become the first independent bank based in the largely Korean and Vietnamese section of Garden Grove

Japan Recovery: Longest in Era?

Japan's current economic growth cycle could become the longest in the post-war era, and some economists are even trying to think of names for this period.

ECC Loans Down, Loss Up

Irvine-based ECC Capital Corp. said Monday that its loan production fell 23% to $1.7 billion in the first quarter, versus a year earlier.

Quality Systems' Rebel Director Isn't Giving Up Fight

The rebel director at Quality Systems isn't ready to give up his board battle, in the Healthcare column

Property Managers Eke Out Gain, Await New Office Towers

Property Managers Eke Out Gain, Await New Office Towers

Friday, April 14

China Relaxes Investing Rules

China relaxed its capital controls on Friday to make it much easier for individuals and companies to buy foreign currencies and invest abroad.

Factory Output Beats Expectations

Output from U.S. factories, mines and utilities rose 0.6% in March, slightly more than expected, as capacity use reached its highest point in 5-1/2 years, the Federal Reserve said on Friday.

Ritz-Carlton on the Block

The 393-room Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel has been put up for sale by Chicago's Strategic Hotel Capital LLC as part of its plan to sell off its holdings.

Samsung Falls on Phone, Chip Dip

Samsung Electronics posted a bigger-than-expected 25% slump in quarterly operating profit on Friday, hit by sliding margins in mobile phones and memory chips.

First Wave of Fluor Move Under Way

The boxes and moving vans are waiting. The first group of employees soon will be on its way. The new building is ready. Irving, Texas, waits with open arms. The migration of Fluor Corp.'s headquarters from Aliso Viejo is rounding the final bend.

Sares-Regis Buys Land for $47M

Irvine's Sares-Regis Group has paid $47 million for 100 acres near Ontario International Airport, one of the last big parcels in the western Inland Empire.

Thursday, April 13

GE Profit Climbs, Sales Top Views

Diversified manufacturer General Electric Co. on Thursday reported profit growth that met Wall Street's expectations, driven by higher earnings in each of its segments except for NBC Universal.

Retail Sales Rise, Jobless Claims Up

Retail sales rebounded modestly in March from a February dip while new claims for unemployment benefits, while up, still pointed to a healthy job market, government reports on Thursday showed.

Bausch Setback Offers J & J; Opening

Bausch & Lomb Inc.'s setback with a contact-lens solution may provide an opening for a long-speculated leap by Johnson & Johnson into the $1.8 billion global lens-care market, analysts said on Thursday.

Sony Ericsson Upbeat, Beats Forecast

Sony Ericsson, the world's fifth-biggest mobile phone maker, on Thursday beat market expectations by more than doubling first-quarter pretax earnings and gave an upbeat 2006 forecast for the global handset market.

Public Companies Grow Sales, Profits

Orange County's largest public companies were awash in sales in 2005. The 75 largest publicly traded companies based in OC saw combined 2005 sales of $104 billion, up 19% from a year ago.

Urban Pacific Named for $300M Project

Garden Grove has awarded Urban Pacific Builders LLC of Long Beach the master development rights for Brookhurst Triangle, a $300 million housing, office and retail development planned for central Orange County.

Wednesday, April 12

GM Opposes Delphi Scrapping Contracts

General Motors Corp. moved Wednesday to block Delphi Corp.'s bid to scuttle 5,472 money-losing contracts to supply parts to the world's biggest automaker, saying it questioned the soundness of Delphi's "business judgment."

Feb. Trade Deficit Narrows to $65.7B

The trade deficit narrowed 4.1% in February to $65.7 billion, as imports fell by the largest amount in nearly a year and the bilateral trade gap with China shrank 22.7%, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

Factory Orders Up in March

A jump in demand for commercial aircraft pushed orders for big-ticket manufactured goods higher in March while sales of new homes shot up at the fastest pace in 13 years, reflecting a rebound from bad weather in February.

Sybron Being Bought for $2B

Newport Beach-based dental products maker Sybron Dental Specialties Inc. is being bought for $2 billion by Washington, D.C.-based tools maker Danaher Corp.

Fun Park Operator Sold for $200M

Newport Beach-based Palace Entertainment Inc., operator of Boomers in Irvine and other family amusement centers across the country, has been bought for an estimated $200 million.

Circuit City Earnings Up 65%

Home-electronics retailer Circuit City Inc. posted a 65% jump in fourth-quarter net income on Wednesday, helped by strong sales of flat-panel television sets, notebook computers and portable music devices.

Pixar, Disney Integration "Terrific"

The integration of Pixar Animation Studios Inc. into Walt Disney Co. "is happening better than we had ever dreamed it would," Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook said.

Circuit City Profit Up on Digital TVs

Circuit City Stores Inc. on Wednesday said quarterly profit rose 65%, driven by strong sales of flat-panel televisions and fewer price cuts.

Budget Deficit Record for March

The U.S. government posted an $85.47 billion federal budget deficit in March,its highest in history for that month, the Treasury Department reported on Wednesday.

Ceradyne Ups Q1 Outlook

Costa Mesa-based Ceradyne Inc. said Wednesday it expected to beat first-quarter earnings estimates, sending its shares higher.

Ford: U.S. Share Decline Slowing

Ford Motor Co. is seeing the rate of decline in its U.S. market share slowing, the president of the automaker's Americas unit said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 11

Merck to Appeal Vioxx Verdict

A jury awarded $9 million in punitive damages Tuesday to a man who blamed his heart attack on Vioxx, finding that manufacturer Merck & Co. knowingly withheld information about the risks of its arthritis drug from federal regulators.

Realtors: Home Sales, Prices to Cool

The housing market will likely level out in 2006, as sales of existing and new homes are expected to cool in the coming quarters, according to the National Association of Realtors.

ECC Cutting 170 Workers

Irvine-based ECC Capital Corp., parent company of mortgage financier Encore Credit, on Tuesday said it would cut 17% of its workforce nationwide.

D.R. Horton Quarterly Orders Rise

D.R. Horton Inc., the No. 1 U.S. homebuilder, on Tuesday said the number of quarterly orders rose about 10% as strength in almost all regions offset weakness in the Midwest.

Steinberg Loses QB Leinart

Newport Beach sports agent Leigh Steinberg has lost marquee client Matt Leinart, the former University of Southern California Trojan who's expected to be the first quarterback drafted into the NFL on April 29.

Emulex Cuts Outlook, Shares Fall

Costa Mesa-based Emulex Corp. on Tuesday slashed its earnings and sales guidance for the quarter ended April 2, sending its stock down more than 4% in afterhours trading.

Genentech: Profit Up on Drug Sales

Genentech on Tuesday said first-quarter profit rose 48% on strong sales of Avastin and its other cancer medicines, and it raised its earnings forecast for the full year.

Cooper Sues Rival, AMO Gets Boost

CooperVision, the contact lens unit of Lake Forest-based Cooper Cos., sued rival Ciba Vision for alleged patent infringement.

Bausch Setback May Be Broad Blow

Bausch & Lomb Inc.'s move to halt shipping a type of contact lens solution in the U.S. after some users were diagnosed with serious eye infections could have broad implications for the company, analysts said on Tuesday.

$9M Punitive Award in Vioxx Trial

A jury on Tuesday awarded $9 million in punitive damages to a New Jersey man who blamed Merck & Co.'s Vioxx painkiller for his heart attack.

Monday, April 10

MARKET WATCH

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

Burlington Coat Sale Approved

Retailer Burlington Coat Factory Corp. said on Monday its shareholders have approved the acquisition of the company by private equity firm Bain Capital Partners LLC.

BROADCOM

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

GIVING

Fund-raisers and charitable donations from companies and people

Construction on First Irvine Co. Towers in 15 Years Gets Started

The Irvine Company is getting down to work at 20-40 Pacifica, its high-rise tower project in the Spectrum

Motorola Too Much of a Good Thing for Multi-Fineline?

Motorola could be souring investors on Multi-Fineline's acquisition in Singapore, in the Technology column

Lyon Ups Buyout Offer

William Lyon on Monday upped the ante in his attempt to buy the rest of the Newport Beach-based homebuilder that he doesn't already own.

Real Estate Watch: West Orange County

West County saw improved vacancy rates in the fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Olivet Focusing on Glasses; Pares Founder's Shoe Push

Oakley has refocused on sunglasses and cut its shoe line since the company got a new chief executive in October

Wal-Mart: No Plans for Bank Branches

Wal-Mart has no plans to open bank branches and its proposal to start limited financial operations poses no threat to community banks, the retailer said on Monday, directly confronting one of the most regularly voiced concerns over its bank application.

NEW CENTURY

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

INGRAM MICRO

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES - The Business Journal Looks at OC's 10 Biggest Public Companies by Revenue

Profit Worries Loom for Expanding Thrift

The past three months have been tough on Wall Street for fast-growing Commercial Capital

WESTERN DIGITAL

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

STANDARD PACIFIC

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

Powerwave Slumps on Lower Forecast

Powerwave saw its shares sink after warning that sales wouldn't be as high as expected in the first quarter

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

FIRST AMERICAN

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

QLogic May Be Eyeing Aliso Viejo Expansion

QLogic may be considering a big expansion at its Aliso Viejo campus

S & P; Restores Allergan Rating in Wake of Inamed Buy

Standard & Poor's removed Allergan from CreditWatch after it closed its buy of Inamed and updated earnings guidance, in the Healthcare column

A Tale of Two Chipmakers

Broadcom and Conexant offer different lessons on how,or how not,to deal with a downturn, a Viewpoint by Peter Navarro

Tannins Restaurant: Casual Menu Meets Good Wines

Tannins restaurant offers casual fare with super wine selections, in the Executive Dining column

Jean Jeany: Pricey Denim at Spectrum

Upscale jeans store Jeany has opened at the Irvine Spectrum Center, in the Marketplace column

BECKMAN COULTER

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

Public Cos. Again Post Big Sales, Profit Gains

ABOUT THE LIST - OC's largest public companies recorded huge sales and profit gains during the past year

ALLERGAN

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

New Century Tweaks Strategy, Sees Revival

New Century's recent performance shows that the subprime mortgage lending industry may not be dead after all

Affymetrix's Perlegen Announces IPO

Affymetrix Inc.'s spinoff Perlegen announced that it has filed with regulators to hold an initial public offering of its stock, making it one of the first personalized-medicine companies to go public.

FLUOR

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

GATEWAY

TOP PUBLIC COMPANIES

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Pacific Life Plans Aliso Offices; 1,000 Workers

Pacific Life Insurance plans to move as many as 1,000 workers to an eight-story office tower in Aliso Viejo

Alcoa Q1 Profit Rises

Alcoa Inc., the world's biggest aluminum producer, said on Monday that first-quarter net income more than doubled on high metal prices and strong demand for products such as auto and aerospace components.

Time Warner Mulls TV Ad Auction

Time Warner Cable is in early discussions to create an auction place for advertising spots on video-on-demand channels, modeled after Google's AdSense system on the Internet, the company's top executive said.

Register Weekly Gets Rival Newspaper in San Clemente

Norb Garrett recently launched the San Clemente Times, in the Media & Marketing column

Targus Looks to Shed Stodgy Image

Targus is making a big push to boost sales of its high-end laptop bags and accessories

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

'Housewives' Draw Some Bravos; Baugh Puts Up Shingle

'Housewives' Draw Some Bravos; Baugh Puts Up Shingle

OC's FORTUNE 5

Five Locals on Fortune 500

Pac Life, QLogic Eye Aliso Expansions

Life insurer Pacific Life Insurance Co. and technology company QLogic Corp. are eyeing big expansions in Aliso Viejo.

Acacia Racks Up Revenue, Share Price Gains

Acacia Research may be controversial, but it's been attracting fans on Wall Street

LETTERS

Orange County Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse has announced its "Looney Lawsuit" for April, in Letters

Bren Gives $20M to Irvine Schools

Irvine schools are getting $20 million for arts and sciences in a gift unveiled Monday by Donald Bren.

Ericsson CEO Quashes Deal Talk

Ericsson will steer clear of big acquisitions or mergers among peers in wireless equipment, the company's top executive said on Monday amid speculation of fresh sector consolidation.

Lessons From Bosa: Bigger is Better, Including Prices

Bosa's Park Place condo towers are the model for OC, according to another developer, in the Real Estate column

Friday, April 7

PacSun Opens First Shoe Stores

Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. said Friday it opened its first three shoe stores as it battles sluggish sales at its existing chains.

FDA to Tap Experts for Heart Devices

The Food and Drug Administration plans to turn to outside medical experts to help it review the safety of heart devices, such as defibrillators, that are already on the market, the New York Times said on Friday.

OC Public Cos. Rack Up Gains

Orange County's largest public companies were awash in profits and sales in 2005. The 75 largest publicly traded companies based in OC saw collective sales of $104 billion last year, up 19% from a year ago.

Unemployment Back to 4.5-Year Low

Employers added 211,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate unexpectedly slipped back to a 4.5-year low 4.7%, the government said on Friday in a report that underlined a relatively vigorous labor market.

New Century Q1 Loans Up

Irvine subprime mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp. said Friday it did $13.4 billion in loans during the quarter, up 31% from a year earlier.

UnitedHealth in SEC Talks

UnitedHealth Group Inc., which bought Cypress-based PacifiCare in December, on Friday said it finished discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission over its accounting related to a Medicare contract, and the talks had no impact on its first-qua

Thursday, April 6

Microsoft Buys Game Developer

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday said its in-house video game studio acquired Lionhead Studios, the British developer started by the famed game maker Peter Molyneux.

Big Sales Miss for Pacific Sunwear

Anaheim-based retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. reported a lower than expected 11% drop in March same-store sales and cut its profit estimate for the first quarter.

Research In Motion Swings to Profit

Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of BlackBerry wireless devices, said late Thursday it swung to a quarterly profit as surging sales and lower legal expenses offset charges related to a long-running patent lawsuit it settled last month.

Hussein Appeals Quality Systems Ruling

Quality Systems Inc.'s battle with a dissident shareholder isn't over just yet.

Guidant Gains on Sales Outlook

Shares of Guidant gained in early trade Thursday after the medical device maker said that first-quarter sales will come in ahead of expectations and that its heart defibrillator business was showing signs of recovery.

BAE Systems to Sell Airbus Stake

BAE Systems, Europe's largest defense firm, is to sell its 20% stake in aircraft maker Airbus, the BBC reported on Thursday.

Perry Ellis Expands Local Unit

Perry Ellis International Inc. has expanded its Irvine operation as it looks to become a bigger player in the market for surf-inspired clothes.

March Chain Store Sales Disappoint

Chain stores posted disappointing March sales on Thursday, blaming the shift in Easter for the poor results, but said April sales could get a boost from the holiday.

Merck Faces Punitive Trial Phase

The punitive phase of a trial involving the Merck & Co. painkiller Vioxx was set to start on Thursday after a jury found the drugmaker failed to warn Vioxx users of heart risks and ordered it to pay a 77-year-old plaintiff at least $4.5 million in damages

Wednesday, April 5

Thales to Acquire Alcatel Operations

French electronics and defense company Thales SA said Wednesday it will acquire Alcatel SA's satellite and security operations for $2.08 billion in cash and shares, keeping the politically sensitive assets in French hands.

Former Gigante Head Joins Startup Fund

Justo Frias, the architect of Mexican retailer Grupo Gigante SA de CV's ambitious move into California seven years ago, has left the grocery chain to help run a private equity fund aimed at boosting Hispanic businesses.

St. Jude Weakens Sales Forecast

St. Jude Medical spooked medical device investors Wednesday with news that the hot heart defibrillator market may be cooling.

Water Pik Shareholders OK $380M Sale

Newport Beach-based Water Pik Technologies Inc. said Wednesday that its shareholders approved a $380 million buyout offer from a venture of the Carlyle Group and France's Zodiac.

Service Sector Expands in March

Activity in the non-manufacturing sectors of the U.S. economy continued at a steady pace in March, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday.

William Lyon Home Orders Drop

Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes Inc. on Wednesday said first-quarter home orders in California and companywide were down.

Ford CEO: Bankruptcy Not an Option

Ford Motor Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford said Wednesday that bankruptcy isn't an option for the nation's No. 2 automaker, which is struggling to return its North American division to profitability.

Report: Vodafone Mulling Verizon Sale

Shares in British mobile phone service provider Vodafone rose on Wednesday on speculation the firm is about to sell its 45% stake in U.S. joint venture Verizon Wireless, dealers said.

Apple Software Allows Windows Use

Apple Computer Inc., the maker of the Macintosh computer and iPod music device, on Wednesday rolled out a first-ever software patch to run Microsoft's dominant Windows operating system on its PCs, a move that could draw millions of new buyers.

Tuesday, April 4

Boeing Q1 Jet Deliveries Rise 40%

Boeing Co. delivered 98 commercial jets in the first quarter, the top U.S. planemaker said on Tuesday, up 40% from the year-ago period.

Former Irvine Co. Executive Joins Bixby

Bixby Land Co. has a new president and chief executive,William "Bill" Halford, the former head of The Irvine Company's office division.

Computer Sciences to Cut 5,000 Jobs

Computer Sciences Corp. said Tuesday it plans to cut about 5,000 jobs, or about 6% of its work force, over two years and that a possible sale of the company is under consideration.

Investors Pounce on Powerwave

Shares of Powerwave Technologies Inc. nose-dived 21.7% Tuesday, a day after the company said it would miss revenue estimates.

Citibank M & A; Ban Lifted

The New York Federal Reserve Bank has lifted a year-old ban on big mergers for Citigroup in a move that frees up Chief Executive Chuck Prince to put his stamp on the financial giant.

Merck Ups Forecast; Zocor Sales Strong

Merck & Co. raised its first-quarter earnings forecast on Tuesday due to strong sales of its Zocor cholesterol drug and lower-than-expected expenses.

Computer Sciences Exploring Options

Shares of Computer Sciences Corp. rose early Tuesday after the company confirmed plans to explore its strategic options, including a potential sale, citing expressions of interest from unnamed parties.

TV Station KDOC Selling for $150M

KDOC TV, the independent TV station in Irvine that's home to reruns of "Kojak" and "Hawaii Five-O," is being sold for $150 million.

Maxtor to Cut 900 Jobs

Maxtor Corp., the computer disk drive maker being acquired by competitor Seagate Technology LLC, on Tuesday said it will cut about 900 jobs in Singapore, and cut its outlook due to the pending acquisition.

Monday, April 3

Newmeyer Group Moves to Stradling

Stradling, Yocca has expanded to Santa Monica to grab more private equity work

LETTERS

Santa Ana's arts community deserves plenty of credit for the city's resurgence, in Letters

Factory Activity Slows in March

U.S. factory activity ran at a three-month low in March, as new orders fell and a gauge of inflation showed a pick-up, according to a survey on Monday.

Surf City Dealers Pool Money for Color Signs, Banners

Surf City auto dealers are doing some collective advertising, in the Marketplace column

Planning Woes, Growing Population Are Bad Cocktail

The region's growing population could be a problem given its planning woes, in the Real Estate column

EXPANSION ON THE TABLE

Premier Commercial plans to use a stock sale to fund its Arizona expansion

GIGANTE CHANGE

The architect of Mexican retailer Grupo Gigante's ambitious move into California seven years ago has left the grocery chain to help run a private equity fund

PEOPLE

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

OC's Fortune 5

Orange County's contingent on Fortune magazine's annual ranking of the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies saw some twists and turns but ultimately ended up a little lighter this year.

Pavilion's Chef Returns With a Rodeo Drive Elegance

Chef Bill Bracken has returned from the Peninsula Beverly Hills to head The Island Newport Beach's Pavilion restaurant, in the Executive Dining column

Upbeat Outlook Holding for Q2; Wages, Economy Are Concerns

The business expectations index nudged up for the second quarter

Kudos

A look at people, companies and institutions receiving awards, accolades, grants and other honors

Valve Startup Moves HQ to Irvine, Eyes IPO

CoreValve, a French heart valve developer, is switching its headquarters from Paris to Irvine

Executives' Outlook Up for Q2

Business expectations are at their highest level in a year despite some lingering concerns about the economy and labor costs, according to a survey of Orange County chief executives, business owners and managers.

MARKET WATCH

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

BANK QUARTERLY

The 10 biggest local banks and thrifts posted more deposit and asset gains in the fourth quarter

Valeant Going Into More Nordstroms, Reups With Cox

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has expanded its Kinerase sales pact with Nordstrom, in the Healthcare column

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Orange County's top news of the week

No Sales Yet, But Software Startup Posts Share Gain

Foldera's shares are up ahead of the software company's product launch, in the Technology column

Best Buy Cuts 300 From HQ Staff

Best Buy Co. Inc., the nation's largest consumer electronics retailer, said it gave layoff notices to about 300 workers at its Richfield headquarters on Monday.

JUICE JOLT

Energy drinks are driving sales at Hansen Natural

Redesigned Register Sections Aim to Lure In Readers

The Orange County Register debuted its Marketplace section late last month in a bid to attract more readers, in the Media & Marketing column

TALL AND SMALL

The Irvine Company's twin 15-story towers going up in the Spectrum are only half the development story in the area

Playmates Eyes New Toys to Spur Sales; Strawberry Shortcake Gets Hip Makeover

Strawberry Shortcake is just one doll from Playmates Toys that's getting a makeover as the company looks to grow sales

NFL Chief Comes Acourtin'; Diving Doc; Coto Reacts

NFL Chief Comes Acourtin'; Diving Doc; Coto Reacts

GM Selling 51% of GMAC

General Motors Corp. on Monday said it agreed to sell a 51% stake in its financing arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp., to a consortium led by hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management LP for a total of $14 billion.

British Parent Plans Spin Off of Experian; London Stock Exchange, Costa Mesa HQ?

Experian in Costa Mesa: company recently saw $12.3 billion buyout offer

Perry Ellis Makes Moves to Grow Surf HQ

Perry Ellis is making moves to bolster its West Coast base in Irvine after buying Gotcha and Redsand

GM, Ford Sales Down in March

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. saw sales fall again last month despite some popular new models, while Toyota Motor Corp. reported a 7% increase over last March.

CEO Cohen Out at St. John

Richard Cohen brought a lot of change to St. John Knits International Inc. in the past year and a half. But perhaps the biggest change came Monday with word he's abruptly leaving the Irvine-based women's clothier.

CALENDAR

Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Alcatel Buying Lucent Technologies

French communications-equipment maker Alcatel said it plans to buy smaller U.S. rival Lucent Technologies Inc. for $13.4 billion to gain market heft and broaden its product mix.

VESTING OPTIONS

The Irvine Company's twin 15-story towers going up in the Spectrum are only half the development story in the area

SECURITY FORCE

The tourism trade is set to look at safety and security in the wake of terrorism and natural disasters

REAL ESTATE DEALS

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Real Estate Watch: Research & Development

OC's research and development sector had a mixed fourth quarter. PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

EXECUTIVE BRIEFCASE

Calexico's back with a mostly mediocre CD that does have some high points, an Executive Briefcase