News Briefs

Senior-executive vacations; interest rates; more jobs; new issuance from Freddie Mac; no new info from Nortel.

  • Here’s a sign of confidence in the economy: More senior executives are willing to go on vacation. Fully 27 percent plan to take more time off in 2004 than they did in 2003, according to a survey of 201 senior executives by executive search firm Christian & Timbers. Last year, that figure was just 14 percent.
  • The Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at a gradual pace due to the slack U.S. economy and low inflation, according to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in a letter released on Wednesday. “The current backdrop of low inflation and underutilized resources suggests that the transition to a more neutral policy stance can be undertaken at a pace that is likely to be measured,” Greenspan wrote in a May 14 letter to Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), who released the letter.
  • According to a Business Roundtable survey of CEOs at large companies, 38 percent expect their companies to add jobs during the next six months, up from 33 percent in March.
  • Freddie Mac issued $3 billion in new 5-year reference notes due July 15, 2009. They were priced to yield 4.359 percent, or 49.5 basis points over comparable Treasurys.
  • Nortel failed to offer up additional information regarding its recent massive restatement, in a conference call with investors on Wednesday.

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