Nike Profits Up, Abbott Acquires Firm

In the midst of the doom and gloom topping headlines lately, some small glimmer of light shone through with a report on weekly jobless claims set for release this morning with the indication that jobless claims may have fallen to 558,000 from 573,000, according to a Reuters report.Profit at Nike Inc. grew 9 percent in the second quarter with its net income risng to $391 million compared with net income of $359.4 million in the same quarter last year, according to the Associated Press. Abbott Laboratories will buy smaller firm Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc’s unit, Ibis Biosciences Inc, in a deal worth $215 million, to expand in the field of molecular diagnostics, the companies said, sending Isis shares up as much as 6 percent. Abbott will pay $175 million to buy Ibis.The suburban Chicago drug-maker had invested $40 million in the firm earlier this year, Reuters reported. Panasonic plans to pay Goldman Sachs Group Inc. $2.7 billion for its stake in Sanyo Electric Co., Bloomberg reported.Good news for consumers – that unfortunately won’t go into effect until 2010 – is a move by the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration to approve a number of key protections for credit-card customers, stated CNNMoney.com.On the bad news front, Reuters reported that Motorola Inc. is suspending its contributions to its 401(k) worker retirement plan, stopping some pay increases and reducing the salaries of its two top executives to cut costs. Reuters also reported that General Motors and Chrysler have reopened merger talks, as Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital Management signaled its willingness to give away part of its ownership in the auto maker. Additionally, Chrysler is closing all its North American manufacturing plants for at least a month to cut costs by extending the normal two-week holiday shutdown that begins Friday to at least Jan. 19 at all 30 of its factories due to slumping sales, according to the Associated Press. President-elect Barack Obama is laying the groundwork for a giant economic stimulus package, possibly $850 billion over two years, the Associated Press reported. Additionally, a reading on leading economic indicators is slated for release this morning, too, CNNMoney.com stated.