Sprint Nextel plans more job cuts

TUESDAY, JAN. 15, 2008

Sprint Nextel Corp., the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier, plans to cut thousands of jobs in an attempt to reassure investors that new Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse is serious about streamlining the company’s operations, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Citing unidentified people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the cuts would run into the thousands of workers. The Reston-based company, with operational headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., laid off 5,000 employees last year to end up at around 60,000.

A Sprint spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

The wireless carrier has struggled in the past year, falling far behind wireless rivals AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless in attracting new subscribers and wrestling with customer service problems and sometimes ineffective marketing.

Sears Holdings Corp. told investors Monday that it would likely post fourth-quarter earnings well below Wall Street forecasts as eroding sales push its profit down as much as 57 percent.

The retailer said it expects to earn between $350 million and $470 million, or $2.59 to $3.48 per share, for the quarter ending Feb. 2 – far less than the $4.43 per share sought by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Sears earned $820 million in the fourth quarter a year earlier.

The news was the latest blow to shares of the Hoffman Estates-based company, which reached a high of $195.18 in April and fell to a three-year low of $86.04 Monday morning before recovering slightly.

Led by hedge fund kingpin Edward Lampert, Sears blamed growing competition, a slowdown in the housing market and consumers’ credit fears for slumping sales figures.

The fourth quarter usually is the best time of the year for IBM Corp., but rarely does it look this good.

The technology company said Monday that its earnings per share in the quarter blew past analysts’ expectations by 20 cents. Executives felt the numbers too good to sit on, so they released a peek at the results in advance of Thursday’s full report for the quarter.

The news sent IBM shares up 5.4 percent, or $5.26, to $102.93 Monday.

The results were surprising given economic conditions. Recessionary fears loom. Hesitation on technology purchases by financial services companies – IBM’s largest customer segment – hurt its third-quarter results.


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