Stories for February 2005

Monday, February 28

Inflation Picks Up, Spending Unchanged

U.S. consumer spending was unchanged in January, a government report showed Monday, and a sharper-than-expected pickup in inflation sparked fears the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates faster than expected.

Report:Allergan's Attractive to Cash-Rich Big Pharma

Allergan once again was touted as a takeover candidate, in the Healthcare column

Federated to Buy May for $17B

Federated Department Stores Inc. on Monday said it would buy rival May Department Stores Co. for $17 billion in a deal that would combine Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Marshall Field's to create the largest U.S. department store chain.


Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Leaks, Tainted Water Bring Cleanup Costs for Chipmakers

Chipmakers face cleanup costs from leaks, tainted water and other environmental issues

Dodge Bringing Kansas City Thrift to OC

Larry Dodge is bringing his Kansas City thrift to Foothill Ranch

Inflation Up, Conditions Improve

U.S. inflation rose strongly in January while business conditions in the Midwest and New York City improved, according to data released Monday that bolstered expectations of U.S. interest rate hikes.

Oil Prices Steady

Oil prices steadied over $51 a barrel on Monday after Kuwait's prime minister vowed to do all he could within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to bring high-flying prices under control.

Roth Spotlight on Emerging Growth Companies

Roth Capital put its annual West Coast spotlight on growth companies

Report: Targus Up for Sale

Anaheim-based Targus Group International Inc., a maker of computer accessories, could be up for sale for as much as $425 million.

SolarFlare Raises $50M

SolarFlare has raised nearly $50 million in the chipmaker's latest round of venture funding.

ICU to Pay $35M for Hospira Plant

San Clemente-based ICU Medical Inc. said Monday it plans to pay Hospira Inc. $35 million for a Salt Lake City plant.


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

Real Estate Watch: Retail

Limited Inventory Drives Retail Fundamentals

Bren Happy With El Toro Neighbor Lennar; Blix Visits

Bren Happy With El Toro Neighbor Lennar; Blix Visits

Interchange Sales Jump, Shares Slump

Laguna Hills-based Interchange Corp. posted big sales growth in the fourth quarter, the company said Monday. But shares of Interchange, which links online advertisers to Internet searchers, tumbled in after-hours trading on the company's outlook for 2005.


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Pac Rim Edition: Hawaii Flavors, Central Coast Wines

Roy's is taking a tour of the Hawaiian Islands, in the Executive Dining column

Sick of all This Rain? So's Nichols Institute

Work at Quest Diagnostics has returned to normal, after recent rains caused plenty of headaches

Private Work Spurs Billings Growth; Public Sector Isn't So Bad

ABOUT THE LIST - Environmental consulting companies posted a slim gain in billings after a few years of flat results

State of the State

Commentary by Laurence Darmiento, Los Angeles Business Journal

Valeant Boosts R & D; Spending, Q4 Sales Rise

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International boosted its research spending in the fourth quarter as it looks to offset lower sales of a former key drug, the company said last week.

Computer Demand Spurs Ingram Gains

Improving demand for computer products in North America and Europe helped Santa Ana-based Ingram Micro Inc. post sales and profit gains in the fourth quarter, the company said Thursday.

Subtle Shift for Quest With New President

Subtle Shift for Quest With New President

Ex-Ford Designers Start Ritzy Custom Car Company

Ex-Ford Designers Start Ritzy Custom Car Company

Cardiac Science to Combine With Quinton

Irvine-based Cardiac Science Inc. and Quinton Cardiology Systems Inc. of Bothell, Wash., on Monday agreed to combine under the Cardiac Science name.


Letters to the Editors

OC Ranks High on Brokerage's National Retail Index

The county ranks high on brokerage Marcus & Millichap's national retail index, in the Real Estate column

Freelance Model Helps M80 Land Mattel, Avery Work

M80 hopes to hit the advertising market with a bang, in the Media & Marketing column

Friday, February 25

Ad Network Wraps Six Newspapers Together

The San Diego Union-Tribune has collaborated with four Southern California newspapers and one Nevada newspaper to launch a region-wide preprint distribution program.

Samuelis Buy Mighty Ducks from Disney

Henry and Susan Samueli finally pulled the trigger and bought the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim from Walt Disney Co. on Friday.

Ducks Sale Talk Heats Up

The hockey season might be a goner, but speculation about the sale of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim is heating up.

U.S. Existing Home Sales Flat

Sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums were nearly unchanged in January from December, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.

Oil Holds Near $51 a Barrel

Oil held near $51 a barrel on Friday despite fresh warnings from big consuming nations that economic growth may suffer from a renewed rise in fuel costs.

Broadcom Moves to Quell Dilution

Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp. said Thursday it OK'd a plan to buy as much as $250 million of the company's common stock in the next year. The plan is a first for the chipmaker.

February U.S. Auto Sales Likely to Disappoint

U.S. auto sales followed a familiar pattern in February with General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., both seemingly stuck in reverse, losing more market share to fast-growing foreign rivals, analysts said on Friday.

U.S. Luxury Home Sales Jump

A survey of Coldwell Banker affiliates found that the number of houses that sold for at least seven figures increased 47% in 2004.

GDP Revised Up on Exports

U.S. economic momentum at the end of 2004 was significantly stronger than previously thought, according to a government report on Friday revising up fourth-quarter output to reflect stronger exports and investment.

Thursday, February 24

First American Buys United General

Santa Ana-based title insurer First American Corp. said Thursday that it bought privately held United General Financial Services Inc. for an undisclosed price.

Oil Extends Rally

Oil extended gains over $51 a barrel on Thursday as concern that OPEC was becoming comfortable with prices near $50 countered swelling stockpiles in the U.S.

Data Shows Economy on Firm Ground

New orders for long-lasting U.S. made goods slipped in January and initial claims for jobless benefits rose last week, but rising business demand for capital goods showed the economy still on solid ground.

Valeant Boosts R & D;, Sees Q4 Sales Rise

Costa Mesa-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International boosted its research spending in the fourth quarter as it looks to offset lower sales of a former key drug, the company said Thursday.

Trial Set for Enron Execs

Former Enron Corp. bosses Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling will go on trial in January 2006 for their part in the huge financial scandal that brought the energy trading giant to its knees, a federal judge said on Thursday.

Longer Treasuries Back in Demand

Treasuries were mostly firmer on Thursday as investors renewed bets on longer-term debt ahead of a $24 billion two-year note auction later in the session.

Wednesday, February 23

Oil Prices Hold Near $51 a Barrel

Oil prices gave back a small portion of rapid recent gains on Wednesday as producer-group OPEC sought to assure traders it would not let prices rise too high.

BioLase Licenses Eye Care Patents

Dental laser maker BioLase Technology Inc. is getting into the eye care business. The San Clemente-based company said Wednesday it plans to license ophthalmology-related patents.

Stocks Rise as Inflation Worries Ease

U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday after a tame January consumer price index eased worries about inflation and investors bought shares beaten down on the broad sell-off in the previous session.

Quest Software Names President

Vincent "Vinny" Smith, the longtime chief executive of Irvine-based Quest Software Inc., promoted company insider Douglas Garn to president.

Edwards Details Growth Plan

Edwards Lifesciences Corp.'s growth ambitions go beyond a new type of heart valve the company is pursuing.

News Lifts Homebuilder Shares

Homebuilder stocks got a lift on news that a key inflation index was in line with expectations.

Gov.: Wildly Popular to Popular

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's job approval rating remains high, but his support has slipped from the lofty levels during his first year in office, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 22

Roth Capital Opens Investor Conference

Rainy skies or not, Roth Capital Partners LLC opened its annual investment conference Tuesday at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point Tuesday.

Commercial Capital Wraps Up Timcor Buy

Irvine-based Commercial Capital Bancorp said Tuesday that it wrapped up its $29 million buy of Timcor Exchange Corp.

Oil Surges Over $51 on Winter Chill

Oil prices surged nearly 6% to a 16-week high above $51 a barrel on Tuesday as a late bout of cold winter weather kept heating fuel demand up in the U.S. and Europe.

Jao Elected Chairman of National Group

Frank Jao, a driving force behind Orange County's Little Saigon, has been elected chairman of a national group that seeks to build ties with Vietnam via education.

PacSun Hires Division President

Anaheim-based Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. has tapped a veteran of Limited Brands Inc. to head its fast-growing chain of urban-style clothing stores.

First American Settles Colorado Claims

Santa Ana-based First American Corp. has agreed to refund about $24 million to consumers nationwide after state insurance investigators claimed it gave kickbacks to homebuilders, lenders and real estate agents.

Monday, February 21

Insider Strader Has Prop. 13 and Terrorism on His Mind

Transportation, terrorism and Proposition 13 are key issues for real estate insider Tim Strader, in the Real Estate column

Gov. Off to China to Tout Trade

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be taking his California sales act on the road again in April with a trip to China, his office said Friday.

Western Dental Heirs Fight $14M Tax Bill

The heirs to the Western Dental chain are contesting an IRS bill


El Toro, Cont'd; Deep Thought on Hearty Brews

If You're Keeping Score at Home: Legal Teams, Tacks in Angels Suit

The city of Anaheim goes deep on its bid to overturn the Angels' name change; PLUS: Corporate Lawyer Crane Takes Over Rutan

Sunstone Reports First Results Since IPO

San Clemente-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. on Monday reported financial results for the first time since undertaking Orange County's largest public stock offering of 2004.

New Women's Work at Casinos

Women in the casino, a Viewpoint by Judy Rosner

PacifiCare: Medicare Expansion in California, Colorado

PacifiCare is pushing Medicare expansion in California and Colorado, in the Healthcare column

Chinese Chipmakers Settle Dispute Involving Broadcom

Chinese chipmakers have settled a patent dispute that involved Broadcom, in the Technology column

Tustin Electronics Plant Sold

Integrated Microelectronics Inc., a contract electronics maker based in the Philippines, has bought the Tustin plant of Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Saturn Electronics and Engineering Inc.

Loss of Big Ad Deals Hits Y & R; Hard; OC Billings Drop in Half

Y & R;'s Irvine unit has lost a couple of big ad accounts in the past few weeks

Ciao to Mama Rose, an Italian Enclave in Costa Mesa

Ciao, Mama Rose, in the Executive Dining column by Fifi Chao

Homebuilders look elsewhere as dwindling land, prices hit sales

A look at the shift in OC's housing landscape


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

Another Big Super Bowl Sunday for Big-Screen King

It was another big Super Bowl weekend for the big-screen TV king, in the Marketplace column

Strong Housing Market, Stable Apartment Supply Spurs Rent Gains

A take on the spike in apartment rents and values

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases


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

Billabong: First-Half Net Rises 73%

Australian surfwear maker Billabong International Ltd. said on Monday its first-half net profit rose 73%, driven by strong sales in Australia and the Americas.


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Another Toshiba U.S. HQ in Irvine

Another Toshiba company has its U.S. headquarters, albeit a small one, in Irvine.


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

Mendoza's Loss is Al Punto's Gain With Kia Campaign

Mendoza's loss is al Punto's gain with the Kia campaign, in the Media & Marketing column

State of the State

Midsize businesses stand to benefit.

Irvine, Anaheim and Santa Ana: Cities Wrestling Housing Crunch

Cities' different approaches to the housing crunch

Week Ahead: Inflation, Rates Eyed

Stocks could show some weakness this week as earnings season winds down, while inflation and interest-rate worries stoke investors' concerns about future profits.

Bio-Star Closes Private Equity Fund at $26M

Bio-Star closed its private equity fund at $26 million

Homebuilders Post Big Sales Decline as Open Land Dwindles

ABOUT THE LIST - rundown of homebuilders' sales in the past year

L.A.: Sales Data Fuels Case for Slowing Housing Market

A look at L.A.'s housing picture

Mercedes Still Rules, But for how Long?

Newport's Fletcher Jones: nation's largest Mercedes dealer

Real Estate Watch - Low-Rise Office Space

Real Estate Watch: Low-Rise Office Space; PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Restaurant Chains Settle With State; Will Post Mercury Content Warnings

Hundreds of California restaurant chains settled a suit with the attorney general over fish warnings

Interchange Holding Up, Eyes More Acquisitions

Interchange has defied the expectations of skeptics who lived through the dot-com bust

Landing Gear Maker Gets $150M Northrop Deal

Smiths Group's $110 million buy of Santa Ana-based Integrated Aerospace has paid off

In Defense of Arte

In Defense of Arte

Pop Artist Shag Hits Nation's Heartland; Ins, Outs of Inouye

Pop Artist Shag Hits Nation's Heartland; Ins, Outs of Inouye


Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Friday, February 18

Core Producer Prices Jump Upward

Sharp gains in the cost of cigarettes and autos helped push core U.S. producer prices up at their fastest rate in six years in January, while overall prices also edged higher, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Bush Signs Class-Action Limits

President Bush on Friday signed into law legislation to curb class-action lawsuits, the first major legislative victory of his second term and part of his broader agenda to overhaul the legal system.

Ex-Boeing CFO Gets 4-Month Sentence

Former Boeing Co. Chief Financial Officer Michael Sears was sentenced on Friday to four months in prison and a $250,000 fine for his part in illegally recruiting a top Air Force official to the company.

Bio-Star Closes Private Equity Fund

Longtime medical investor's private equity fund has closed to new investors and is ready to invest.

New Century Strikes Park Place Lease

Irvine subprime lender New Century Financial Corp. has formalized plans for a big lease at the Park Place office complex near John Wayne Airport.

Treasuries Retreat After Inflation Fright

Treasury debt prices sank on Friday after a startling jump in core producer prices questioned the market's complacency on inflation and threatened to make the Federal Reserve more aggressive on interest rates.

Botox: Cosmetic King

Irvine-based Allergan Inc.'s Botox was the most popular cosmetic procedure again in 2004, marking the third straight year on top for the wrinkle-reducing drug.

Smith Micro Does $22M Placement

Aliso Viejo's Smith Micro Software Inc. on Friday completed a private sale of $22.4 million worth of its shares to fund an expansion and possible acquisitions.

Thursday, February 17

Mitsubishi Denies Sale Story

Officials from Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and its struggling U.S. unit in Cypress spent Friday refuting a Wall Street Journal story about a possible sale.

Mitsubishi Names New Head in Cypress

Slumping Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. has named Hideyasu Tagaya to head the Cypress-based unit.

Boston Marketing Shop Buys Blvdwest

Boston-based medical marketing shop LehmanMillet Inc. has bought Newport Beach-based Blvdwest, now known as LehmanMillet West.

Chapman B-School Dean Stepping Down

Douglas Tuggle, dean of the business school at Chapman University in Orange since 2002, is stepping down, citing his wife's health issues.

Remote Control Maker's Sales Soar

Strong sales to makers of TVs and other electronics helped Cypress-based Universal Electronics Inc. post big revenue growth in the fourth quarter, the company said Thursday.

Japan Economy: 4th Recession in Decade

Japan's economy shrank for a third straight quarter in the last three months of 2004.

St. John Retiring Debt, Gray Shares

The evolution of Irvine-based St. John Knits International Inc. continues under Chief Executive Richard Cohen.

Mexico: Best Economic Growth in Years

Mexico's economy expanded last year at its fastest pace since late 2000.

Wednesday, February 16

Lennar Takes All of El Toro

The Navy's online auction of the former El Toro Marine base is over. Lennar is the winner with a total bid of $650 million on four parcels set for residential, retail and office development.

First American: Profits, Cautious Words

Santa Ana-based title insurer First American Corp. beat Wall Street expectations with its fourth-quarter profits but spooked some investors with cautious words about this year.

Greenspan: Get Finances in Order

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Wednesday the economy entered 2005 in good shape but warned fiscal discipline was essential to meet future challenges.

Stocks Flat as Oil Jumps, Fed Chief Talks

Stocks finished almost flat on Wednesday, with the S & P; 500 inching up to a fresh 2005 high on a day when energy companies' shares rose after crude shot above $48 a barrel, while financial stocks fell after the Fed chairman said interest rates are still lo

Industrial Production Flat

Industrial production was flat in January as warm weather dampened demand for heating, but manufacturing output remained healthy, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Oil Prices Jump 2%, OPEC Worries

Oil prices surged more than 2% on Wednesday amid worries a possible OPEC output cut this spring could quickly sap swelling crude and gasoline stockpiles in the U.S.

A Dark Day for the NHL

It's over before it began. National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman cancelled the season Wednesday after the union representing the players and the NHL couldn't reach a new labor deal.

HP Posts Higher Profit

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Wednesday posted a quarterly profit that rose slightly, helped by gains across all of its businesses, and its shares rose 2.5% in after-hours trade.

Advanced Medical Buy Now Q2 Deal

Santa Ana-based Advanced Medical Optics Inc. said Wednesday it sees its buy of Santa Clara-based Visx Inc. concluding in the second quarter instead of the current one.

Housing Starts: 21-Year High

A jump in starts on single-family housing pushed housing starts to a nearly 21-year high in January, but home mortgage applications dipped last week, according to data reported on Wednesday.

First American Profit Falls

A slowdown in mortgage applications hurt First American Corp.'s bottom line in the fourth quarter, the company said Wednesday.

Moreno: Leaving it to the Lawyers

A day after the Anaheim City Council voted to go ahead with its lawsuit against the Angels, Arte Moreno was doing what he does best.

Tuesday, February 15

Like EBay: El Toro Bidding Continues

The Navy's online auction for El Toro is getting a little like eBay, with the sale dragging on for days and bids coming in at the last minute.

Landing Gear Maker Lands $150M Deal

Smiths Group PLC's $110 million acquisition last year of Santa Ana-based Integrated Aerospace Inc. already has paid off.

Stocks Gain; Dow, S & P; 500 at 2005 Highs

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, pushing the Dow and S & P; 500 to fresh 2005 highs, as retail shares got a boost from better-than-expected January retail sales, while an unsolicited bid for Circuit City Stores Inc. raised hopes for more M & A; activity to come.

Subprime Lender Goes Public

The parent of Irvine-based subprime mortgage lender Encore Credit Corp. made its Wall Street debut Tuesday, raising nearly $400 million.

MLB Buying

Major League Baseball's Internet unit said Tuesday it plans to buy Costa Mesa-based Inc. for about $66 million.

Monday, February 14

Competition, Yield Curve Takes Toll on New Century

Competition and the yield curve are taking a toll on New Century's profit growth, in the Real Estate column

Linksys Has Company With Cisco's Latest Acquisition

Linksys isn't the lone wireless unit under Cisco's banner anymore, in the Technology column


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

San Gabriel Surprise: Doing Mission 261 With the Docs

Mission 261 is a San Gabriel treat, in the Executive Dining column


Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

HP, Sun Using Printronix Printer

A Printronix Inc. printer for radio frequency identification tags is being used by Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc., the Irvine company said on Monday.

Courts Split on Prop. 64's Effect on Prior Suits; Resolution Likely to Rest With Supreme Court

Proposition 64 retroactivity looks like it could go to the state Supreme Court

Dow Ends Lower, Apple Buoys Nasdaq

U.S. blue-chip stocks finished slightly lower on Monday, pulled down by a drop in the shares of American International Group Inc. as a regulatory probe widened.

Hispanic Grocer Gigante Continues to Expand, Just Not in OC

Gigante continues to open supermarkets, just not in its OC base

Small Banks or Big Ones: Who's Got Small Businesses' Number?

A look at how big and small banks are vying for small business accounts

Memorial Wraps Up San Clemente Hospital Acquisition

Memorial wrapped up its acquisition of San Clemente Hospital, in the Healthcare column

Y & R; Eliminated as Jaguar Looks to Rejuvenate Brand

Y & R; was eliminated from Jaguar's advertising review, in the Media & Marketing column

Churning Foreign Exchange Profits, One 'Pip' at a Time

A peek into Union Bank's foreign currency trading desk

Stop the Presses,Times, Reg in Joint Venture!

Stop the Presses,Times, Reg in Joint Venture!

Real Estate Watch: High-Rise Office Market

PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Nokia, Microsoft in Software Deal

Nokia and Microsoft struck a deal on Monday to make it easier for consumers to buy digital music on-line and play it back on their handsets.

Cox Opens Quail Hill Store to Push High-Definition TV

Cox Communications has opened its first store,at Quail Hill Village Center in Irvine, in the Marketplace column

New Century Ups Dividend Forecast

New Century Financial Corp. on Monday boosted its dividend outlook for 2005 by 5%.

Commercial Capital to Buy Timcor

Irvine's Commercial Capital Bancorp said it plans to buy Timcor Exchange for $29.4 million in stock.

Venture Capital Scene: Techs Eye a Comeback

Technology startups could be regaining some luster,

Medical, Retail and Residential Planned Near St. Jude Med

A medical, retail and residential development is planned near St. Jude Medical in Fullerton

Allergan Distances Botox From Florida Case

Allergan has distanced its Botox drug from a criminal case in Florida

Social Security Pact with Mexico Faces Trouble

In an early test of strength over President Bush's immigration reform agenda, some conservatives and seniors organizations are campaigning to block implementation of a U.S.-Mexico pact on Social Security.

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Germany's Henkel Combines in Irvine

Germany's Henkel has consolidated its U.S. hair products business in Irvine

Verizon to Buy MCI for $6.75B

Verizon Communications Inc. on Monday said it would buy long-distance telephone company MCI Communications Inc. in a deal worth $6.75 billion, giving Verizon entry into the market serving large corporations.

Developers Tally Costs of Unusually Wet Winter

Developers are tallying the costs of the winter's unusually wet weather

Bankers See Business Expansion, Home Loans Spurring Activity in 2005

It was another banner year of growth for most commercial banks in Orange County in 2004,but will it continue? Interviews with bank executives

Thrifts Post 10% Rise in Deposits; WaMu Lags With a 5% Rise

Local thrifts had a good year of deposit growth.

Same Old Story: Banks Report Solid Deposit Growth

Analyses of deposit growth at commercial banks and thrifts


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

IntraLase Plans to Triple HQ in Irvine Move

IntraLase plans to triple the size of its headquarters


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

Banks Find Modest Boom in Demand for Currency Trades

The expanding currency-trading business of local banks has had more to do with customer service than speculation.

Op, Warnaco May Not Be Hip, But They're Survivors

Op and Warnaco might not be hip, but they're survivors


Letters to the Editors - State Spending; Measure M

Friday, February 11

Montage: No Plans Yet for Golf Course

Montage Resort & Spa officials sought to defuse a controversy Friday about possible plans for an expanded golf course at the Aliso Creek Inn acquired last year.

Powerwave Reorders Executive Ranks

Longtime Orange County technology executive Bruce Edwards has stepped back as head of Santa Ana's Powerwave Technologies Inc., a maker of amplifiers for wireless phone networks.

Perna Retires as MSC Chief

Frank Perna retired Friday as chairman and chief executive of industrial design software maker MSC.Software Corp.

Dell's Outlook Disappoints Investors

Dell Inc. shares fell as much as 4% Friday morning after the personal computer maker reported fourth-quarter results shy of Wall Street estimates and said its first-quarter sales might also fall short, too.

Oil Prices Holding Firm Near $47

Oil prices held firm near $47 a barrel on Friday, bolstered by a tightening outlook for market fundamentals and sliding U.S. temperatures.

Thursday, February 10

Acacia Plans $19.6M Stock Sale

Newport Beach-based Acacia Research Corp. said it expects to close a $19.6 million stock sale Thursday.

Oil Jumps $1 on Supply Worries

Oil prices jumped more than a dollar on Thursday after the International Energy Agency warned that faster-than-expected demand and disappointing world production growth could put world supplies under strain.

Home Sales Off, Prices Not as Much

The median sales price for an Orange County home was $534,000 in January, down 3% from December's record of $551,000 but still up nearly 20% from a year earlier.

Drive shipments to Grow 24% in '05

Driven by soaring sales of 1.8 inch and smaller devices for consumer electronics, the disk drive industry could see unit shipments rise 24% from 305 million in 2004 to 378 million in 2005, according to market research firm Trendfocus.

Dell Posts Higher Operating Profit

Dell Inc., the largest personal computer maker, on Thursday posted sales just shy of Wall Street expectations as profit excluding a tax-related charge topped analysts' forecasts.

Report: Verizon Floats Informal Bid for MCI

Verizon Communications has floated an informal acquisition offer in cash and stock for MCI Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Jobless Claims Off Last Week

The number of Americans claiming initial jobless benefits fell unexpectedly last week to 303,000, the lowest level in more than four years, a government report showed on Thursday.

Trade Gap Narrows, Still Near Record

The December trade deficit narrowed as oil import prices had their biggest monthly decline in nearly 14 years. But the annual trade gap still widened more than 24% in 2004 to a record $617.7 billion.

Subprime Lenders: Sigh of Relief

Orange County's subprime mortgage lending industry may be breathing a tentative sigh of relief.

IntraLase Shares Slump on Wider Loss

IntraLase Corp., an Irvine company that makes lasers used in eye surgery, said Thursday that higher-than-expected costs widened its loss in the fourth quarter.

Lantronix Posts Revenue Gain

Irvine-based Lantronix Inc. on Thursday posted a bigger operating loss than a year earlier despite a bump in sales.

Wednesday, February 9

NYSE to Delist MSC.Software

Santa Ana-based MSC.Software Corp. said Tuesday that its shares will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of an ongoing review of its past financial accounting procedures.

Possible Allergan Partner Dealt Blow

Irvine-based Allergan Inc. was dealt a minor disappointment Wednesday when regulators rejected another drug maker's application for a chronic dry eye disease treatment.

Corinthian Falls on Lawsuit Report

Shares of Santa Ana-based for-profit college operator Corinthian Colleges Inc. fell 5% on Wednesday after a report on a new lawsuit filed by students alleging that one of its schools misrepresented prospects for graduates, analysts told Reuters.

Bidding Wraps on Two El Toro Parcels

Bidding closed Wednesday on two parcels of the former El Toro Marine base, with the Navy getting its minimum asking price of $185 million. The auction is set to continue tomorrow on the remaining two parcels of the base up for bid.

Interchange to Make European Buy

Laguna Hills-based Interchange Corp. said Wednesday it plans to buy Sweden's Inspire Infrastructure 2i AB for up to $22.5 million in a cash and stock deal.

Powerwave Buys Kaval Wireless

Santa Ana-based Powerwave Technologies Inc. said Wednesday it bought Kaval Wireless Technologies Inc. for $10.8 million in cash and debt.

Ex-BofA Mutual Fund Execs Charged

U.S. regulators charged five former employees of a Bank of America Corp. utual fund unit for trading abuses on Wednesday and finalized a $515 million settlement with the bank on related charges.

Bill Would Delay Hospital Mandate

Citing the weak financial state of California's hospitals, Sen. Jackie Speier introduced legislation on Wednesday that would push back the date by which hospitals have to meet new seismic safety standards.

Mortgage Applications Up, Rates Dip

Applications for home mortgages increased last week as U.S. consumers took advantage of a sharp drop in interest rates to refinance their existing loans, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 8

DDi to Close European Unit

Anaheim circuit board maker DDi Corp. said Wednesday it plans to shut its European operation after failing to land a credit pact to its liking.

Disney Dissidents Won't Vote for Board

Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, the former Walt Disney Co. directors who sparked a shareholder revolt, said on Tuesday they would withhold their votes on the board of directors at the company's annual meeting.

Angels TV Lineup Almost Set

It looks like Arte Moreno's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will have to wait a year to significantly boost its broadcasting lineup. The team is close to finalizing its TV lineup for the 2005 season.

Mitsubishi Loss Doubles on Sales Dip

Embattled Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said on Tuesday its net loss for the nine months to Dec. 31 more than doubled from a year earlier, hit by a sales plunge in the United States and at home.

New Horizons Sells 13% Stake

Anaheim-based New Horizons Worldwide Inc. said Tuesday that private equity investor Camden Partners Holdings LLC has bought a 13% stake in the company.

Mixed Earnings Forecast for AMO

It was good news, bad news for investors in Advanced Medical Optics on Tuesday. The company's earnings guidance for 2005 fell short of Wall Street expectations, but beat 2006's forecast.

Beckman Names Woods as Chairman

Fullerton's Beckman Coulter Inc., a maker of medical testing gear for labs and researchers, named Betty Woods, an 11-year veteran of the company's board, as non-executive chairman on Tuesday.

Quality Shares Gain 7% Tuesday

Shares of Quality Systems Inc., an Irvine-based healthcare software company, rose 7% Tuesday after the company beat Wall Street expectations with its profits for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

TTM Dips on Slimmer Sales, Profits

Santa Ana circuit board maker TTM Technologies Inc. took a beating in after-hours trading Tuesday after reporting a sequential drop in fourth-quarter sales and slimmer profits.

Fed's Bies: Inflation Well Contained

The U.S. economy is growing well, inflation is well contained and the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at a measured pace to keep a lid on price pressures, Federal Reserve Governor Susan Bies said.

Cisco Profit Rises on New Technologies

Cisco Systems Inc., the largest maker of communications gear to direct traffic over the Internet, on Tuesday said quarterly earnings rose, benefiting from higher sales in advanced technologies and the impact of a year-earlier accounting change.

Monday, February 7

Hospitals Retool ERs to Handle Growing Traffic, Technology

Report on changes in the ER

Avamar Hopes to Add EMC to Reseller List

Avamar hopes to add EMC to its reseller list

Real Estate Deals

This week's postings of Real Estate sales and leases

Maguire Boosts Office Tower Plans, Personnel

Maguire sure has taken a liking to OC

Naval Weapons Station Rep: Seal Beach Base Is Crucial

A Navy spokesman says the military's Seal Beach operation is critical, in the Real Estate column


More on L.A.'s bid for the El Toro Marine base in Letters to the Editors


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

With Deutsch Out, Mitsubishi Review Narrows to Four

Mitsubishi's ad review has narrowed to four, in the Media & Marketing column by Sherri Cruz

Allergan Warns on 2005 Profit

Irvine drug maker Allergan Inc. on Monday posted a fourth-quarter profit versus a loss a year earlier but warned net income for 2005 could come in below what analysts were expecting.

Valeant Reups Pipeline With Xcel Pharma Buy

Valeant gets a boost for its neurological drug pipeline with the pending acquisition of Xcel

Investor Interest in Russia Gains

Foreign appetite for Russian assets has picked up strongly after a slow start to the year, with investors expected to lap up the upcoming landmark $1.5 billion share offering in conglomerate AFK Sistema, Reuters reported.

Stem Cell Science: Hospitals See Research Possibilities

Despite extensive debate about stem cells and their use, there has been considerable confusion about what they are exactly, and what they do.

Real Estate Watch: Construction

Office construction remained slow in the fourth quarter; PLUS: CHART - Net Absorption; Vacancy Rates; Average Asking Lease Rates

Reality TV: 'The O.C.' Shopping Spree at Fashion Island

Fashion Island is cashing in on "The O.C.," in the Marketplace column by Sherri Cruz


Orange County Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Cogent Taps Interim CEO to Hit Operational Goals

Cogent Healthcare is looking for a permanent chief executive, in the Healthcare column by Vita Reed

State of the State

Commentary by Howard Fine, Los Angeles Business Journal

Latest Chip Battleground: Voice Over Internet

The promise of voice over Internet protocol has put a spark in a moribund rivalry

Hospitals Reported Revenue Gains; Income Declines

Analysis: the County's biggest hospitals by net patient revenue


Happy Valentine's Day from Starbucks

Iraq Vote May Boost Fluor; Afghanistan Bidding on Tap

Fluor could go after some big government contracts in Afghanistan

Hospital Executives Grapple With Spiking Staff, Technology, Care Costs

Running a hospital today causes its share of headaches,just ask the following executives - interviews with top hospital administrators


Calendar of OC Business events and announcements - FREE Download

Nurses Take Staffing Beef With Schwarzenegger to Air

A look at the nursing debate

Bush Seeks Cuts to Curb Deficit

President Bush on Monday proposed a $2.5 trillion budget that slashes domestic programs from farm aid to housing grants for the poor, as he sought to curb budget deficits that have soared on his watch.

Mugel: Big Personality Buys, Sells Real Estate on the Quiet

Red Mountain buys and sells on the quiet

Angels Report Brisk Season Ticket Sales

Season ticket holders haven't closed their pocketbooks on the Angels

Brussels Bistro: Fries, Beer and All the Belgian Classics

Fries, beer and all the Belgian classics, in the Executive Dining column by Fifi Chao

St. John's New Boss Looks to Great Fashion Houses for Cue

St. John Knits wants to play with the big fashion houses

Telemarketers Try Junk Mail; Park Foe Turns Friend

Telemarketers Try Junk Mail; Park Foe Turns Friend. By Rick Reiff

Friday, February 4

Greenspan Says Deficit May Shrink

A confluence of market pressure and fiscal restraint may dampen the U.S. current-account deficit in the coming months, Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan said.

January Jobs Report Disappoints

U.S. employers added just 146,000 jobs in January, the government said on Friday in an unexpectedly weak report on the labor market, but a drop in job-seekers pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in more than three years.

Homebuilders Surge on Wall Street

Homebuilders Standard Pacific Corp. and William Lyon Homes Inc. saw their shares surge early Friday, fueled in part by strong Standard earnings earlier in the week and continued optimism about the housing market.

Wet Seal Hit With Consolidated Suit

Foothill Ranch-based The Wet Seal Inc. said it was hit Friday with a suit that consolidates other class action complaints against the company. Charges are directed against the company, some former directors and current and former executives of the teen ap

Consumer Sentiment Falls in January

U.S. consumer sentiment finished weaker in January, as respondents to a poll published on Friday grew less certain about their financial outlook, Reuters reported.

Report Details Regional Setbacks

The Southern California Association of Governments issued a scathing report Friday claiming the six-county region has lost significant ground in the past decade on employment and income growth, traffic congestion, education levels and housing affordabilit

LabCorp Completes US Labs Buy

Irvine-based US Pathology Labs officially became part of Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings on Friday.

Thursday, February 3

Apparel Retailers Post Jan. Sales Gains

PacSun and,surprise,Wet Seal both reported a jump in same-store sales in January.

Productivity Growth Slowed Sharply

Business productivity rose at just a 0.8% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the smallest advance in nearly four years.

E-Commerce Software Developer Acquired

Aliso Viejo-based US Technology Resources LLC has acquired Costa Mesa's eBuilt Inc., a developer of e-commerce and other software for businesses.

Maker of RF Chips Raises $6M

Irvine-based Wispry Inc. raised $6 million in a first round of venture financing.

Standard Pacific Soars on Q4 Earnings

Shares of Standard Pacific Corp. soared Thursday after the Irvine homebuilder reported blockbuster earnings results for the fourth quarter and raised its outlook for 2005.

Global Corporate Activity Stays High

Companies around the world continued to report a brisk expansion of activity as 2005 kicked off, surveys showed, with firms in Europe and Japan staging some catch-up on those in a cooler U.S.

Court: Prop. 64 Not Retroactive

Proposition 64's limitations on private enforcement of unfair competition laws do not apply to lawsuits filed before its effective date of Nov. 3 of this year, the First District Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.

Treasuries Lower Before Jobs Tally

U.S. Treasury debt prices eased on Thursday as investors worried a looming report on the labor market could show a renewed burst of hiring.

Report: Qwest Makes $6B MCI Bid

Qwest Communications International Inc. offered to buy long-distance provider MCI Inc. for more than $6 billion, according to sources.

Appellate Courts Weighs in on Prop. 64

California has a binding ruling on Proposition 64,for now.

Wednesday, February 2

Valeant Buying Xcel for $324M

Costa Mesa drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International said Wednesday it is spending $324 million to buy Xcel Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held maker of neurology drugs.

Fluor's Backlog Surges

Aliso Viejo-based Fluor Corp. reported a big gain in pending work, buoyed by contracts the engineering services company has won in Iraq and elsewhere.

Gateway Founder Files to Sell Stake

Gateway Inc. founder and Chairman Ted Waitt said Wednesday he plans to sell about $97 million worth of shares in the Irvine-based computer maker.

Commercial Capital Plans Share Buyback

Irvine-based Commercial Capital Bancorp said Wednesday it plans to buy back up to 2.5% of its shares.

Jan. Job Gains Seen Strong

If forecasts can be believed, job growth in January will finally return U.S. employment to where it was before the 2001 recession and erase the jobs lost during President Bush's first term.

South Coast Bancorp to be Bought

Camarillo-based First California Bank said it plans to buy Irvine's South Coast Bancorp for about $36 million.

Fed Raises Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for a sixth straight time, extending a policy of gradually lifting borrowing costs to levels high enough to ward off inflation pressures.

Tuesday, February 1

Wet Seal Shuffles Board

Foothill Ranch-based The Wet Seal Inc. is counting on three new board members to lead its turnaround bid.

Fed Expected to Boost Rates

Federal Reserve policy-makers are likely to keep bumping up short-term interest rates this year, a defense against an inflation flare-up now that the economic expansion is on firm footing, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

OPEC Keeps Production Levels Steady

Oil prices slipped on Tuesday, but remained supported near $48 on worries that OPEC producers may cut supplies before the end of the first quarter. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries kept official production limits steady at 27 million

Micro Therapeutics Books Genyx Gain

Irvine's Micro Therapeutics got a boost from a recent medical device acquisition in Orange County. The company received $3.7 million for its share of C.R. Bard's $60 million buy of Genyx Medical in Aliso Viejo.

Snell & Wilmer on the Move

The law firm leased 57,000 square feet in Plaza Tower, a high-profile office building in Costa Mesa. Snell is set to move from Irvine in summer.

Factory Output Growth Slower in January

U.S. factory output grew more slowly in January as companies received fewer orders, although managers did show a renewed desire to hire new workers, an industry survey showed on Tuesday.

Local Automakers Post Mixed Sales

Results were varied for several local automakers in January. American Suzuki and Hyundai Motor America posted solid growth in auto sales while Mazda North American and Mitsubishi Motors North America reported a decline in sales.

SBC to Make Big Job Cuts in AT & T; Buy

SBC Communications Inc. said Tuesday it expects to eliminate about 13,000 jobs after its $16 billion acquisition of AT & T; Corp. closes, but the telephone company emphasized that many of those positions can be cut through attrition rather than layoffs.