WGME’s Atkinson leaving to be a sales director at CNN

Robb Atkinson will be leaving WGME-TV next week to join CNN in July.

Atkinson, who has been the news and operations director at the Portland station for four years, will become a senior director of sales and affiliate relations at CNN. He said he will coordinate news content and distribution efforts for some of CNN’s 800 affiliated stations.

Tax credit deadline pushes home sales up for April

A rush of homebuyers aiming to meet a deadline to qualify for a federal tax credit pushed the number of signed sales contracts to the highest level since October.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 6 percent in April from a month earlier to a reading of 110.9. March’s reading was revised upward to 104.6.

The rise marked the third consecutive month of increases, all of them aided by federal tax credits of up to $8,000. The tax credits, however, expired April 30 and many analysts expect sales to drop in the coming months.

Dow surges by 226 points on pending home sales rise

The stock market rebounded Wednesday following a stronger-than-expected increase in pending home sales and a recovery in shares of energy companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose almost 226 points to 10,249.54, its third-biggest gain of 2010.

Major indexes recovered the losses they suffered Tuesday shortly before the close, when the government announced criminal and civil investigations into the Gulf oil spill.

Energy stocks led the advance after oil prices rose. Schlumberger, which provides services to oil companies, rose more than 8.8 percent, while Baker Hughes climbed about 10.5 percent.

Geithner shrugs off AIG failure to sell subsidiary

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday looked past the collapse of an American International Group deal to sell off a subsidiary, saying the insurance giant has other options for paying back its $182 billion government bailout.

Geithner addressed the issue after Prudential PLC, a British company, said it was backing out of a deal to buy American International Assurance. The deal faltered after Prudential shareholders balked at the $35.5 billion price. AIG refused to accept less money.
Messier on trial for allegedlymisleading investors

The once-jetsetting Jean-Marie Messier, who transformed a stodgy water company into media giant Vivendi Universal, went on trial in Paris on Wednesday on charges he misled investors about the company’s health as it took on billions of dollars of debt and neared bankruptcy.

Messier is on trial with six others, including American Edgar Bronfman Jr., a former top Vivendi executive and now CEO of Warner Music Group.