Nation | World Business Briefs

A look at some of Wednesday's top business stories.
Oklahoman Published: May 10, 2012
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Business briefs

Nation

European woes hit markets

Fear of Europe's debt problems spreading is once again playing havoc with Wall Street. Stocks dropped Wednesday as borrowing rates climbed for Spain and Italy, a sign that investors are losing confidence in those countries' finances. Spain's 10-year borrowing rate leapt to 6.06 percent from 5.70 percent early Tuesday. Many fear that Spain could be the next nation to need a financial bailout. The Dow Jones industrial average was down as much as 184 points before recovering about half of the loss.

Founder explains stock sale

The founder of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., who was ousted as chairman for a stock sale that violated company policy, said the transaction was triggered after he was caught off-guard by a swift drop in the coffee maker's stock price. Robert Stiller, who also dumped his $50 million stake in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., said in an interview Wednesday that he didn't expect Green Mountain's shares to fall so steeply last week. The decline forced him to sell the shares on a margin call, which happened to occur during a blackout period in which the company prohibits the sale of its stock by insiders. Investors are subject to margin calls when they put stock up as collateral to borrow cash. When share prices take a tumble, borrowers may be required to cover the gap.

Upscale food now on the menu

Thin-sliced roasted turkey, prosciutto and sopressata no longer are the domain of the deli. Food companies looking to capitalize on consumers' increasingly sophisticated tastes — and their need for speed at the grocer and at home — are carving out new directions in lunch meat with upscale options that are pre-sliced, prepackaged and ready to go right alongside the bologna. They also are revamping the classics, offering new flavors and styles of basic deli meats, including better-for-you options like the new line of Oscar Mayer Selects being introduced this week. Some prepackaged lunch meats now come in thicker slices, mirroring the choice at a traditional deli. Herbs and spices also are showing up in prepackaged products, boosting flavor and appeal. And there are the packages of sliced, dry-cured meats, such as sopressata and prosciutto, which used to be strictly deli items.

Banker admits securities fraud

A one-time wealthy investment banker banned from working as a broker-dealer after admitting securities fraud in the 1990s has pleaded guilty to securities charges again in New York. David Blech pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of securities fraud in Manhattan federal court. He said he made desperate moves when he was heavily in debt. He admitted that he tried to decrease his investments in two biotechnology companies in 2007 and 2008 by hiding his purchases and sales in accounts created for relatives.

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