FDIC seizes six more banks; total for year now tops 100

U.S. bank failures this year surpassed a bleak milestone of 100 as regulators shut down banks in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kansas, Nevada and Minnesota.

The six bank seizures announced Friday bring to 102 the failures so far in 2010. The pace of closures this year is well ahead of that of last year, which saw 140 banks shuttered amid the recession and mounting loan defaults.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it took over Crescent Bank and Trust Co., based in Jasper, Ga.; Sterling Bank of Lantana, Fla.; Williamsburg First National Bank of Kingstree, S.C.; Thunder Bank of Sylvan Grove, Kan.; SouthwestUSA Bank, with one branch in Las Vegas; and Community Security Bank of New Prague, Minn.


‘Stress test’ results in Europe lead Dow to 102-point gain

Investors bought stocks again on the latest reassuring news about the economy. This time, it was about European banks.

European regulators, who issued the results of what are called “stress tests” on the banks, said Friday that only a handful would struggle if the continent’s economy weakens. That helped send the Dow Jones industrial average up 102 points, giving it a two-day gain of more than 300 points.

The latest second-quarter earnings reports also convinced investors that the economic recovery is proceeding. So did reports that French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis is interested in buying Genzyme Corp.


McDonald’s income climbs 12 percent in second quarter

Net income climbed 12 percent at McDonald’s Corp. in the second quarter as U.S. diners responded to the frappes and other drinks on its hit McCafe menu.

The world’s largest hamburger chain also got a boost from business in China and Australia.

R.W. Baird analyst David Tarantino wrote in a research note that Friday’s results showed “healthy” revenue growth, but he said investors hoped for even higher figures.

Still, McDonald’s has outpaced many of its competitors in recent years, particularly in the United States, where its value menu helped insulate it from much of the economic weakness that has hurt rivals.


Resurgent GE raises dividend after cutting it during crisis

More than a year ago, in need of cash after its GE Capital lending unit was overwhelmed by the financial crisis, General Electric did the nearly unthinkable — it slashed its dividend for the first time since the Depression.

Now, flush with cash, the conglomerate is starting to reward shareholders again. GE boosted its quarterly dividend by 2 cents to 12 cents per share Friday.

The dividend was increased and accelerated “because of continued strong cash generation, recovery at GE Capital and solid underlying performance in our industrial businesses,” CEO Jeff Immelt said.

Shares of GE rose 50 cents, or 3.3 percent, to close at $15.71 Friday.