Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey on June 20, 2006 · Page 28
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Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 28

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Asbury Park, New Jersey
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006
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Page 28
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ON WALL STREET -12,000 March 1 11,053.50 Monday (-11,500 10,942.11 Stocks down ahead of interest rate decision -11,000 V V V Wall Street pulled back sharply Monday as a lack of economic news left investors hesitant to buy stocks ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision next week. Falling commodity prices and some strength in the U.S. dollar eased the inflation picture, but weakness in oil- and metal-related stocks pulled the market lower. Investors found little direction without new economic data to feed speculation over whether the Fed will hike rates. Brian Gendreau, investment strategist for ING Investment Management, said investors appeared confused about what was driving the market now that hopes for a soft landing for example, a gentle rise in interest rates that would contain inflation but preserve the economy's momentum were running dry. On the Asbury Park PressBloomberg Index, a list of companies with operations in the region, Hess Corp. fell $1.78 to $44.62. Cytec Industries Inc. fell $1.59 to $51.99. DOW JONES 72.44 CLOSE: 10,942.11 NASDAQ 19.53 CLOSE: 2,110.42 S&P500 11.40 CLOSE: 1,240.14 -10,500 MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE 2,600 2,400 to e-mail us your comments. Some comments will be published when we report the results of the poll on Sunday. APP BLOOMBERG 1.15 CLOSE: 131.78 2,200 V -2,000 mm MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE I QUESTION OF THE WEEK Could you find similar job, pay if necessary? If you lost your job, would you be able to find a similar position at similar pay? That's this week's online business poll question. Readers can vote by visiting our Web site, www.app.com, and clicking on Business. There are also directions on how I r B. - ' ' 1 !i March 1 , 1 " 2,314.64 ' Monday ASBURY PARK PRESS I TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2006 LOCAL BRIEFS MOVERS sued mum enzon plaintiff: Claiming patent infringement defendant: Denies wrongdoing; stock drops fight the suit, which seeks cash compensation and an order to stop Vo-nage's use of the technology. Vonage shares dropped $1.12, or 12 percent, on Monday, closing at $8.48 and adding .to criticism from investors and analysts who warned of competition by larger rivals before its $531.3 million IPO. Vonage shares, Communications Inc., which says Vonage is infringing on seven patents on Internet telephone services. Verizon says Vonage used its technology that allows Internet callers to reach traditional telephone customers, according to a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Richmond, Va. Vonage, a pioneer in Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, said it will BLOOMBERG NEWS SERVICE HOLMDEL Vonage Holdings Corp., whose stock has lost half of its value since an initial public offering in May, is being sued by Verizon Interaction is key in Old Bridge man's Schoor DePalma promotes Curley Robert J. Curley of Dover Township has been promoted to principal and vice president at Schoor DePalma of Manalapan, an engineering and consulting firm, where he has worked since 2000. Curley is a senior project manager in the firm's site development department. He is a member of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers and serves on the New Jersey Builders Curley Association Land Use Committee and the ULI Urban General Development Committee. Foodarama group offers $53 a share An investor group led by the Saker family has formally started its $53-a-share offer for the shares the group does not own in Freehold Township-based Foodarama Supermarkets Inc. The members of the purchasing group now own 51.5 percent of Foodarama, which operates 26 ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey, including 11 in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Saker family members in the group include Foodarama CEO Richard J. Saker and his father, Joseph J. Saker, who founded the company in ' 1958. The group decided in February to increase its offer to $53 a share from its initial Dec. 2 offer of $52 a share. But the offer could not commence until it had been reviewed by Foodarama's board and federal regulators. The offer of $53 a share is a 43 percent premium to the Dec. 1 stock price. Shareholders have until July 19 to decide whether to accept the offer. Networking event for medical group The Jersey Shore Health Alliance will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Wings Adult Fitness Center in Mill Plaza on Route 35, Wall. The group will hold its Wine and Wellness Night, a networking event for local doctors and health professionals who want to build professional relationships and develop a referral network to better serve their patients and clients. For more information, call (732) 449-4244. Send items for this column to Renee Freeman by e-mail at rfreemanapp.com or by mail to Asbury Park Press, 3W1 Route 66, f Neptune, NJ 07754-1551. ALCOA (AA), the world's biggest aluminum maker, fell 99 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $29.10. GENERAL MOTORS CORP. (GM) rose 75 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $26.35. The world's largest automaker gained after former unit Delphi Corp. (DPHIQ) said it will expand its buyouts of union workers. Delphi reached an agreement with the International Union of Electrical Workers of America, its second-largest union. MONSTER WORLDWIDE INC. (MNST) rose $1.85, or 4.5 percent, to $43.02. The owner of the Mon-ster.com employment Web site was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal-weight" by analyst Lisa Monaco at Morgan Stanley, who wrote in a note that concerns about the fallout from the potential backdating of stock options are largely discounted in the stock. She said the options will continue to reduce the stock's value for "several months." PETSMART INC. (PETM) lost $1.08, or 4.4 percent, to $23.68. The pet products seller was downgraded to "neutral" from "outperform" by analyst Gary Baiter at Credit Suisse, who wrote in a note that Petco is lowering prices to become more competitive. SINOVAC BIOTECH LTD. (SVA) rose 17 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $2.87. The Beijing-based vaccine producer said a first-phase trial showed its avian flu vaccine is safe for people. Bloomberg News Service BOTTOM LINE T-bill rate tops 5 WASHINGTON: Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction, with the six-month bill climbing above 5 percent to the highest level since January 2001. The Treasury Department auctioned $15 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.830 percent, up from 4.800 percent last week. An additional $14 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a rate of 5.055 percent, up from 4.925 percent last week. The Associated Press For a stock quote, send text message with the ticker symbol (e.g. GCl) to 44636 ceu pnom charg may wm P0jE UP (e.g. GC (4INFO). www.app.com, and click on this story in Business for a link to: Vonage Holdings forum. which were initially offered at $17, have lost half of their value since their first day of trading, May See Phone suit, Page B9 games - " I ." ' "If I can make money doing what I love, how do I lose in that deal?" Howard Sherman 2" v V i A TASTE OF ADVENTURE Malinche Entertainment, which develops and sells interactive text adventure games, has four titles: "The First Mile," a horror story. "End Game," a techo- , thriller that puts you at the helm oftheUSS Las Vegas. "Greystone," a murder mystery set at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris County. "Pentari: First Light," a fantasy tale in a world of elves, dwarfs and men. Staff graphic V..T-1U ; ; V v - 1 I ytlmitfn Hi W I I 1 1 lltZr!'' ( I By DAVID P. WILLIS BUSINESS WRITER At age 12, Howard Sherman fell in love with a computer adventure game called Zork. It had no fancy graphics or pictures, but used simple text to tell a story. "You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door," the game opened. "There is a small mailbox here." The player would type in commands to move the game forward and unveil new clues to a mystery. "I was riveted," said Sherman, an Old Bridge resident. Now 36, Sherman writes and sells such computerized stories himself under his company, Ma-linche Entertainment. The Middletown-based company (pronounced Mah-LIN-chay) is named after a volcano in Mexico. In its time, "it was powerful and had eruptions that changed its surroundings," Sherman said. But he doesn't call them computer games. His software, Sherman said, is "interactive fiction." "If you want graphics, we are not your guys," Sherman said. "Interactive fiction is a fusion between books and technology." Zork, introduced in 1980, and its sequels were released by Infocom, a software company that was later acquired by software giant Activision in 1987. Afterward, text-based games started to See Games, Page B9 Circuit City BLOOMBERG NEWS SERVICE Circuit City Stores Inc., the second-largest U.S. electronics retailer, said it had a $6.4 million profit in its fiscal first quarter after selling more high-end televisions and digital-music players. The shares fell after the company reported the cost of promo Players' decisions lead to different outcomes In the interactive fiction software sold by Howard Sherman's Malinche Entertainment company. About 150,000 copies have been sold, he said, (staff photos: michael j. treolai CORPORATE SPOTLIGHT profit up, but shares fall $351 29) Circuit City Stores Inc. "T 1 p 16,86 1 VvV o 1 r- 1 28.63 M 20 1 15.51 1 1 -0.85 61905 91905 121905 31906 61906 k Df tions rose. Profit was 4 cents a share, compared with a loss of $13.1 million, or 7 cents, a year earlier, topping analyst estimates. Sales for the quarter ended May 31 climbed 17 percent to $2.62 billion, Richmond, Va.-based Circuit City said Mojnday in a statement. That was the biggest gain in more than six years. Shares fell after Circuit City said gross margin narrowed as higher interest rates lifted the cost of offering promotional financing. Some analysts noted the company didn't raise its forecast for the See Retailer, Page B9

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