The Buzz On Business
IN 'IRON MAN,' THE PROMISE OF PROFITS: As "Iron Man" smashed its way to an estimated $201 million in worldwide box office sales, Marvel Entertainment Inc. raised its profit forecast Monday for the year and promised to release "Iron Man 2" in 2010. The film was the first that Marvel financed itself and culminated a five-year plan to break from its strategy of licensing its top comic book heroes to other studios. The company said its improved forecast did not include the box office success of "Iron Man," only its better-than-expected first-quarter performance. Marvel shares jumped $2.85, or 9.4 percent, to $33.10 Monday. The company said first-quarter profit dipped 3 percent to $45.2 million, or 58 cents per share, but that beat analysts' prediction of 43 cents, according to Thomson Financial. Revenue fell 26 percent to $112.6 million from $151.4 million, but beat the estimate of $111.7 million.
FEWER LOANS OF ALL TYPES: The Federal Reserve reported Monday that more banks are tightening lending standards on home mortgages, other types of consumer loans and business loans in response to a spreading credit crisis. The Fed said the percentage of banks reporting tighter lending standards was near historic highs for nearly all loan categories. The survey, conducted in April, found that nearly two-thirds of banks surveyed had tightened lending standards on traditional home mortgages, with 15 percent saying those standards had been tightened considerably. The survey found that the tougher lending standards extend far beyond home mortgages to other types of consumer debt such as credit cards and home equity lines of credit.
TROPICANA ENTERTAINMENT IN CHAPTER 11: The fallout from losing its New Jersey casino license will force the owner of Tropicana casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company said Monday. Tropicana Entertainment LLC said it plans to continue operating and will keep current staffing levels. The bankruptcy filing would cover nine properties: The Tropicana Casino & Resort in Las Vegas; Bayou Caddy's Jubilee Casino in Greenville, Miss.; Casino Aztar in Evansville, Ind.; Horizon Casino Hotel in Vicksburg, Miss.; Horizon Casino Resort and the MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, both in Lake Tahoe; the Tropicana Express Hotel & Casino in Laughlin, Nev., and River Palms Resort & Casino, both in Laughlin, Nev.; and the Sheraton Hotel and Belle of Baton Rouge Casino in Baton Rouge, La. The filing would not cover the Tropicana in Atlantic City, which is being sold by a state-appointed conservator.
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58: Given free choice, percentage of Americans -- men and women -- who say they would prefer to have a job outside the home, according to Gallup's annual Work and Education survey.
50: Percentage of women who say they would rather hold a job outside the home.
68: Percentage of men who say the same.
JOHN MacINTYRE, UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE