Tuesday PM October 30th, 2007

Rodeo & Livestock Show officials and Houston Texans oppose Reliant Astrodome redevelopment plans...Dell releases delayed financials...Port of Houston commissioners approve new contracts for Bayport container terminal...

Officials from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Houston Texans say they will oppose the current redevelopment plans for the Reliant Astrodome. The groups told the Harris County Commissioners and the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation board members that the plans threaten their financial well-being and violate their lease agreement with Harris County. The Texans are worried the hotel would hamper the flow of fans in and out of games. The Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation secured a funding commitment from Deutsche Bank to develop a $450 million 1,300-room hotel and restaurant and amusement complex inside the Astrodome.

Dell's yearlong internal investigation into accounting problems officially ended today. The Round Rock-based computer maker saying cumulative net income for the restatement period was $92 million lower. Details are in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dell says the restated earnings covered fiscal years 2003 through 2006, as well as the first quarter of fiscal 2007. The restatements stem from an internal accounting investigation which began in August of 2006. One year later, Dell announced some employees had misled its auditors and manipulated results. An SEC probe remains unresolved. A Dell spokesman says no timetable has been set for the SEC's investigation. Dell also faces shareholder lawsuits. Federal prosecutors in New York have subpoenaed documents on Dell's financial reporting since 2002.

The Port of Houston commissioners have approved about $15 million in new contracts for the Bayport container terminal. A $12.5 million contract with Orion Construction is for dredging to accommodate larger vessels. The commissioners also approved a $1.25 million change order to an existing dredging contract with Orion to cover tires and debris removal.

A new report says U.S. home prices fell in August for an eighth straight month. And the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Index gives no indication of a turnaround in the offing. In fact, Yale economist Robert Shiller, who created the index, says the downward spiral may continue. An index of ten U.S. metro areas fell 5 percent in August from a year ago. That was the biggest drop since June 1991. A broader index of 20 metropolitan areas fell 4.4 percent in August compared to a year earlier, with 15 of the 20 reporting that prices were down.

Consumer confidence is slipping. That's the word from the Conference Board. The business research group says its index has dropped to the lowest level in two years. The gauge dipped nearly four points to 95.6. Amid rising oil prices and a faltering housing market, the decline doesn't bode well for retailers, who were already prepared for a lackluster holiday shopping season. The Conference Board's Lynn Franco says the report may be an indication of a ''less than stellar ending to this year."

The Justice Department approved AT&T's $2.8 billion purchase of Dobson Communications. But the Feds will require the new company to divest assets in five states to protect competition. San Antonio-based AT&T last June announced it was buying Dobson, which is a rural service provider. The purchase, which still requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission, would add 1.7 million customers to AT&T's 63 million subscribers. Oklahoma city-based Dobson is the nation's ninth-largest carrier, and does business under the Cellular One brand. The Company has provided roaming services to AT&T since 1990. The markets of concern are in Texas, as well as in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

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