Income gains help to offset $700 billion spent on bailout

Stock sales are helping the government offset projected losses from its $700 billion rescue of the financial system.

The Treasury Department has brought in $35 billion in revenue over two years, boosted by ongoing sales of Citigroup stock, new data show. But the Congressional Budget Office projects taxpayers will still lose $25 billion for bailing out the financial sector and U.S. automakers.

The new total for revenue generated by the Troubled Asset Relief Program is up from the nearly $30 billion in income shown in the previous report covering the program’s finances through October. Much of the additional income came from the sale of Citigroup common stock.

The Treasury sold off the last of its stake in the banking giant Tuesday, ending up with receipts of $12 billion above the government’s investment of $45 billion.

TJX Cos. will shut down 71 A.J. Wright stores, convert 91

TJX Cos. plans to close its A.J. Wright discount stores by mid-February, cutting 4,400 jobs, as its T.J. Maxx and Marshalls chains have become better at attracting the lower-income customers that A.J. Wright targeted.

Ninety-one stores will be converted into T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or HomeGoods stores, and 71 will close entirely, along with two distribution centers. About 3,400 staffers will remain employed at the converted stores.

TJX said the move allows the company, based in Framingham, Mass., to focus on its more profitable businesses.

CEO Carol Meyrowitz said that during the recession, TJMaxx and Marshalls stores began catering to a broader range of income brackets, on both the high and low ends.

All 162 A.J. Wright stores will close by mid-February.

Occidental to sell Argentine oil interests, focus on U.S.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Friday it will sell its operation in Argentina while focusing more on U.S.-based oil and gas fields in separate deals worth billions of dollars.

The Los Angeles company said it will buy several assets in the U.S. from Royal Dutch Shell and a private owner for a combined $3.2 billion.

Shell’s south Texas fields are worth about $1.8 billion. They currently produce about 200 million cubic feet per day of gas equivalent. Occidental also will buy from a private seller about 180,000 acres in North Dakota for $1.4 billion. Those fields produce about 5,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Meanwhile, Occidental said it would sell its oil and gas operations in Argentina for $2.5 billion to Sinopec Group, China’s biggest oil refiner.

China makes moves to slow lending, inflation fears rise

China ordered its banks to increase their reserves in a move to curb surging lending as financial markets watched for a widely anticipated interest rate hike amid efforts to cool inflation.

The central bank’s order Friday was the third reserve increase in five weeks and came as Beijing tries to stem a flood of money through the economy from stimulus spending and bank lending that helped China rebound from the global crisis.

Beijing has announced a slew of measures in recent weeks to cool inflation that rose to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in October, well above the government’s 3 percent target.

Monsanto CEO takes pay cut of 2.2 percent as profit drops

The chairman, president and CEO of Monsanto Co. took a pay cut this year as the world’s largest seed company recovers from layoffs and lost sales in its herbicide business.

An analysis by The Associated Press shows Hugh Grant received compensation worth $12.4 million for the year ended Aug. 31. That was down 2.2 percent from a year earlier.

Most of the decline came from a drop-off in incentive compensation.

For fiscal 2010, Monsanto reported a full-year profit of almost $1.1 billion, down from $2.1 billion the previous year. Revenue fell to $10.5 billion from $11.72 billion a year earlier.