Friday's Early Headlines
- Economy Loses 36,000 Jobs in February -- The Labor Department said that the U.S. economy lost 36,000 jobs last month, compared with estimates that 68,000 jobs would be eliminated. The January payrolls data was revised from a loss of 20,000 jobs to greater decline of 26,000 jobs. On the positive side, the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%. "Severe winter weather in parts of the country may have affected payroll employment and hours," the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. "However, it is not possible to quantify precisely the net impact of the winter storms on these measures."
- Apple to Release iPad on April 3 -- Apple (AAPL) said it will release its new iPad device in the U.S. on April 3, after the company said the new tablet would be available in March. The Wi-Fi only models will be available first, with 3G wireless versions to be released later in April. Both the Wi-Fi and 3G models will be made available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. by late April. Apple said it will begin taking preorders for the iPad on March 12.
- Sony Goes After Apple With New Handhelds -- Sony (SNE) is taking on Apple, developing a new lineup of handheld products, including a smart phone capable of downloading and playing videogames, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Sony is developing a portable device that shares characteristics of netbooks, electronic-book readers and handheld-game machines, designed to compete against products such as Apple's upcoming iPad, people familiar with the matter told the paper.
- AIG, MetLife Reportedly Resolve Tax Issue -- American International Group (AIG) and MetLife (MET) lawyers have been told by the Internal Revenue Service that it ruled in their favor on a tax question, clearing the way for a $15 billion sale of AIG's second-biggest foreign life-insurance unit, American Life Insurance, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. With the tax matter resolved, MetLife could finalize terms for acquiring the AIG unit, also known as Alico, the paper reports.
- JPMorgan, WaMu Talk Over Disputed $4 Billion -- Talks to resolve a dispute over who owns about $4 billion claimed by both JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Washington Mutual have accelerated over the past few days, The Wall Street Journal reports. Lawyers for Washington Mutual say the $4 billion represented deposits made by the parent company of the failed thrift and should be used to repay creditors, the paper says. JPMorgan argues that it owns the disputed $4 billion, which it views as a capital contribution to Washington Mutual's banking operations from its holding company.
- China Talking with Google to Settle Spat -- China is in talks to resolve its dispute with Google (GOOG), which said in January it was no longer willing to censor its search results in China and could potentially shut down its Web site and its offices in the country. The comment was made by Li Yizhong, minister of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Reuters reports