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Business in brief: Sales taxes see worst decline in 50 years

Wed., April 15, 2009

As Americans have tightened their belts, making make fewer big purchases, state and local sales tax collections experienced their worst decline in 50 years, according to a report released Tuesday.

Forty-one states saw declining revenues in the fourth quarter of 2008, with the Far West region suffering the most, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government said in its latest report.

And the bad news for states doesn’t end there: Personal income tax collections for the same period fell 1.1 percent and corporate income tax revenue dropped by 15.5 percent.

Santa Clara, Calif.

Intel Corp. profit upends analysts’ bleak forecast

Intel Corp.’s first-quarter profit blew past Wall Street’s grim forecasts Tuesday and the company claimed that personal computer sales “bottomed out” and have started recovering.

The optimistic comments were notable because Intel was the first technology company to report earnings for the first three months of 2009. However, Intel let investors down by not giving specific revenue guidance. It’s not yet clear whether people are buying significantly more PCs, or whether Intel is mainly benefiting from computer makers replenishing their chip inventories.

Intel shares were down 82 cents, 5.1 percent, to $15.19 in after-hours trading.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company’s net income of $647 million, or 11 cents per share, was less than half what the company earned in the same period last year. But analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting far worse, having forecast profit of just 3 cents per share.


Former Qwest exec reports for prison

Two years after his conviction, former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio reported to a federal prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday to start a six-year sentence for insider trading while he appeals his conviction to the Supreme Court.

Nacchio reported to a minimum-security prison camp in Minersville, Pa., around 11:30 a.m.

Nacchio was convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider trading. Prosecutors said he sold $52 million worth of stock in 2001 based on nonpublic information that Qwest Communications International Inc. faced trouble meeting its sales targets.

Denver-based Qwest is the primary telephone provider in 14 mostly Western states.


SEC investigates BofA over bonuses, disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing whether Bank of America broke the law by failing to disclose bonuses it was planning to pay Merrill Lynch employees before buying the Wall Street investment bank last year.

Bank of America announced it was buying Merrill Lynch for $50 billion in September. But in seeking the approval of its shareholders, Bank of America did not disclose in a regulatory filing about the deal that it planned to pay $3.6 billion in bonuses to Merrill Lynch employees.

The SEC joins New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in looking into whether investors were misled because of the omission.

From wire reports

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