September 28, 2009

UPI NewsTrack Business

Markets shoot up Monday

NEW YORK, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. markets shot up Monday morning despite mixed reports on durable goods orders and home sales.

In late morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1.41 percent, 135.96 points, to 9,801.15. The Standard & Poor's 500 added 16.12 points, 1.54 percent, to 1,060.50. The Nasdaq index gained 1.96 percent, 40.89 points, to 2,131.81.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury rose 3/32 to yield 3.311 percent.

Durable goods orders dropped 2.4 percent in August while new home sales rose 0.7 percent, government reports said Friday.

The euro rose to $1.4657 from Friday's $1.467. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 89.34 yen from 89.85 yen.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 2.5 percent, 256.46 points, to 10,009.52.

Iraq is not inspiring flood of investments

BAGHDAD, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Despite efforts in Washington to invite business investments in Iraq, the country remains split on the notion and mired in infrastructure problems, reports say.

On one hand, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has publicly expressed his view that an Iraqi-American business conference scheduled for next month in Washington needs to be a success.

On the other hand, we are not after shock therapy, Sami al-Araji, chairman of Iraq's national investment commission, told The New York Times in a story published Monday.

Many of the businesses are state-owned and some more overstaffed than they were when the late dictator Saddam Hussein was in charge, the Times said.

We are after a gradual change from a centrally controlled economy to an open one, al-Araji said.

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. has stressed the need for regulatory reforms to make investments safer. Iraq is also hobbled by poor roads and off-again, on-again electrical service, the Times said.

Capital is cowardly. It is always looking for a safe place, said Mejul Mahdi Ali, president of an investment commission in Diyala, the province northeast of Baghdad.

Perhaps symbolizing the reluctance to seek foreign investment, commission was booted out of two Iraqi government offices, before finding an office equipped by a U.S. reconstruction unit, the Times said.

Non-profit CEO salaries not out of sight

NEW YORK, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The highest paid director of a U.S. non-profit in 2008 was Partners HealthCare executive James Mongan, an annual survey of non-profit salaries said.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy said Mongan earned $3.4 million in pay and benefits in 2008, while Museum of Modern Art director Glenn Lowry took home the second highest compensation package, worth $2.7 million.

The third highest compensation went to Steven Altschuler, chief executive officer of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who earned $2.4 million, USA Today reported Monday.

The Chronicle's list only ranks salaries at the 325 largest non-profit organizations in the country, making it possible, although not likely, that a smaller non-profit could pay an executive more than one of the top 325 largest.

Partners Health said Mongan's pay was in line with that of his national peers.

Chairman of the Museum of Modern Art's compensation committee Donald Marron said membership at the museum rose fourfold, attendance 73 percent and gallery space 50 percent after Lowry, led MoMA through an intricate period of expansion and reinvention.

The median pay for top executives at non-profits in 2008 was $418,555, while the median salary for CEOs at corporations listed on the Standard & Poor's 500 was $7.6 million, the newspaper said.

States rush to borrow at low interest rate

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Low interest rates have prompted U.S. state and local governments to increase their borrowing, Federal Reserve records show.

In the most recent figures available, the Fed said borrowing by local and state governments was up 8.3 percent in the second quarter, U.S.A. Today reported Monday.

In the midst of a fiscal crisis, California was able to secure an $8.8 billion loan last week, with the portion due June 30 carrying interest rates of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent, the newspaper said.

Ohio took advantage of low interest rates to more than double its plan to borrow $252 million. Instead, it borrowed $544, taking on new debt, but refinancing some of its older debt at the same time.

In Florida, Chief Financial Officer of Miami-Dade schools said, we'll make a little money on our debt.

The school district borrowed funds carrying a 0.37 percent interest rate, but will invest the money where it can make 0.8 percent until it is spent, the newspaper said.

It's a good time to go out and borrow money, Utah Treasurer Richard Ellis said.

The state recently borrowed $1 billion for highway projects.