Saturday, October 11, 2003

Business digest



Trade gap improves, except with China

The U.S. trade deficit declined to $39.21 billion in August, reflecting a big drop in imports of cars and foreign oil. However, America's trade deficit with China surged to an all-time high.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that the August deficit was 2.1 percent lower than a revised July imbalance of $40.03 billion.

Also Friday, the Labor Department reported that inflation at the wholesale level rose by a higher than expected 0.3 percent in September, following a 0.4 percent increase in the Producer Price Index in August.

Waksal's father faces insider-trading charges

Government regulators brought civil charges of insider trading against the father of former drug-company executive Sam Waksal on Friday, saying the father sold more than $8 million of stock based on a tip from his son.

The charges against Jack Waksal, 82, were made in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where Sam Waksal pleaded guilty a year ago to securities fraud for tipping his daughter to dump ImClone Systems Inc. stock.

E-mails examined in Quattrone case

Prosecutors confronted banker Frank Quattrone on Friday with evidence he helped Dell Computer founder Michael Dell secure shares of a new public company at bargain prices, a day after the defendant denied any role in such deals.

As jurors viewed copies of e-mail exchanges with Dell, the former Credit Suisse First Boston executive appeared to reverse himself when a prosecutor asked, "Did you make IPO allocations?"

"Yes," the defendant replied.

Quattrone is charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

Low-carb diets blamed for drop in juice sales

The popularity of the Atkins and South Beach diets appears to be slimming down Florida's citrus industry and now juice makers are studying how to counter the trend.

Sales of orange juice have been dropping for two years. The diets bar most high-carbohydrate foods, including fruit juices.



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