March 12, 2010

Briefcase

— Blue Hill Memorial will cut 15 positions to save money

Blue Hill Memorial Hospital is cutting 15 positions, or 5 percent of its staff, as part of its initiative to cut costs.

Hospital officials said the combination of an uncertain economy and cash flow issues has forced them to eliminate positions and cut back on employee travel, office supplies, printing, consulting services and other activities.

Dr. Erik Steele, the hospital's interim CEO, said the savings are expected to improve the hospital's cash flow by $250,000 a month.

Maine heating oil prices holding steady at $2.38

The average price of heating oil in Maine is holding steady after inching upward for two consecutive weeks.

In its weekly survey, the state energy office said the average cash price statewide was $2.38 a gallon, the same as last week. Actual prices ranged from a low of $2.02 in southwestern Maine to a high of $2.60 in the eastern part of the state.

IBM expects higher profits than analysts had forecast

IBM Corp. forecast significantly higher profits for 2009 than Wall Street expected, a surprisingly bullish sign that reflects IBM's belief it can outmaneuver the financial crisis by focusing on landing high-margin services and software contracts. Shares leaped 4 percent in extended trading.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company predicted at least $9.20 per share in profit in 2009. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting $8.75 a share.

Clear Channel laying off 1,850 throughout company

Clear Channel Communications Inc. is laying off 1,850 employees as the nation's largest owner of radio stations grapples with the economic meltdown.

The cuts represent about 9 percent of the company's total work force and affect staff throughout the company, in radio, outdoor advertising and corporate offices.

Warner Bros. to eliminate 10 percent of work force

Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Entertainment movie studio said Tuesday it is eliminating nearly 800 jobs, or 10 percent of its global work force, and is examining further cost reductions.

The cuts come after the studio posted a 9 percent drop in third-quarter revenue to $2.88 billion, despite the success of the summer blockbuster, ''The Dark Knight.'' Earlier this month, parent Time Warner said it will post a loss for the full year due to a $25 billion write-down of its assets in cable, magazines and Internet, caused in part by the advertising slowdown.

Google gives up selling print ads for newspapers

Google Inc. is giving up on selling print ads for the ailing newspaper industry, ending a two-year-old attempt to extend its dominance of Internet marketing into another medium.

The retrenchment announced Tuesday is part of a cost-cutting campaign aimed at boosting Google's profits as the deepening recession eats away at Google's bread-and-butter business of selling ads on its own Web site and thousands of other Internet destinations.

head first goes here head second

Crude futures for March and beyond sank Tuesday revealing broad pessimism in the markets over energy demand.

Crude prices have fallen as the places to store it have thinned, with millions of barrels of unwanted oil now being stored at sea or in facilities on land.

Light, sweet crude for February delivery rose $2.23 to settle at $38.74 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

-- From staff and news services

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