www.usatoday.com Monthly Stock Mutual Fund Report, 6-7B
Al and Joanna
Viviano want to
SECTION B make sure they’re
on the right track
By Brian Bohannon for USA TODAY with their retire-
At home: Al and Joanna Viviano have amassed $1.7 million. ment. 5B
Monday, April 2, 2007
Moneyline Pﬁzer to resume airing ads for Celebrex
Friday markets Aims to dispel links cardiovascular risk and that they, too,
pose risks to stomachs and intestines. More drug ads
Celebrex and another painkiller, Bextra,
in several ads, including a 27-minute in-
Index Close Change
Dow Jones industrial average 12,354.35 1 5.60 between it, Vioxx “It’s one of the longest TV ads I’ve
ever heard of,” says Louis Morris, an ex-
Spending for consumer drug ads rises
fomercial that named Pﬁzer but not the
drugs. Print ads for Celebrex returned
Dow for the week 2 126.66 Food and Drug Administration ofﬁcial last year. Bextra was pulled from the
USA TODAY Internet 50 139.08 1 0.11 By Julie Schmit who monitored drug ads and is now an market in 2005 after the FDA said its
e-Business 25 108.40 1 0.28 USA TODAY industry consultant. $2.9 risks exceeded its beneﬁts.
e-Consumer 25 240.43 2 0.51 The return of Celebrex to TV follows $4 The new Celebrex ad, “Understand
Pﬁzer plans to launch a 2½-minute its ﬁnancial comeback. Celebrex sales $5.5 the risks. See the beneﬁts,” shows a
Nasdaq composite 2421.64 1 3.76
S&P 500 1420.86 2 1.67 TV commercial today for arthritis pain- hit $3.3 billion in 2004 then dropped man bending, riding a bike, ﬁshing and
T-bond, 30-year yield 4.84% 5 unch. killer Celebrex, which has been off TV 48% in the year after Vioxx’s withdrawal. $2 dancing. Risks are mentioned early.
T-note, 10-year yield 4.65% 1 0.01 for more than two years due to safety Last year, Celebrex sales were $2 billion. Many drug ads have been criticized for
concerns about drugs Still, it ranks behind ibuprofen and na- giving risk information only at the end.
T-bill, 3-mo., discount rate 4.92% 1 0.01 0
Gold, oz. Comex $663.00 1 1.50 Health care in its class. proxen in arthritis prescriptions, accord-
“They do a responsible job,” says Ste-
The spot is ﬁve ing to market tracker Verispan. Before Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus ven Nissen, chair of cardiovascular
Oil, light sweet crude, barrel $65.87 2 0.16 times as long as most TV ads. Pﬁzer says the Vioxx recall, Celebrex was ahead of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, who
By Frank Pompa, USA TODAY
Euro (dollars per euro) $1.3355 1 0.0020 the time is needed to explain Celebrex’s naproxen but behind ibuprofen. saw the ad but favors a ban on consum-
Yen per dollar 117.81 2 0.18 risks and beneﬁts and to dispel confu- The FDA in 2005 reiterated its belief er drug ads. In 2005, the industry adopt-
Sources: USA TODAY research, MarketWatch.com sion. Many consumers wrongly assume that Celebrex’s beneﬁts outweighed its and prescription-strength ibuprofen, ed guidelines to improve consumer ads.
uMarket Trends, 4B it was withdrawn with Vioxx, a similar risks, even though it was in the same naproxen and other NSAIDs, or non- Long drug ads won’t become the
drug, in 2004, Pﬁzer says. class of drugs as Vioxx. The Merck drug steroidal anti-inﬂammatory drugs. norm, says Mark Bard, president of mar-
Live stock quotes on The ad also points out that prescrip- was withdrawn after studies showed in- Pﬁzer agreed to halt consumer ads for keting consulting ﬁrm Manhattan Re-
tion-strength ibuprofen and naproxen — creased heart attack and stroke risk in Celebrex after the Vioxx recall and be- search. “This is a unique situation,” he
your cellphone Celebrex’s chief rivals — carry similar some users. The FDA in 2005 also re- fore the FDA cited Pﬁzer for down- says. “You’re basically trying to re-brand
Send text message to 44636 (4INFO) government-mandated warnings about quired its strongest warning on Celebrex playing risks and overstating beneﬁts of a familiar brand.”
with STOCK TICKER (DELL) or
FUND TICKER (AGTHX).
Northwest details executive awards
Each of Northwest Airlines’ top 400 executives will
get an average payout worth $955,000 in company
Who’s guarding your Home
stock when the airline emerges from Chapter 11 bank-
data in the cybervault?
ruptcy this summer, the company said Friday. The
shares, in the form of restricted stock and stock op-
tions, have an estimated value of about $382 million,
based on the company’s preliminary $7.8 billion valua-
tion. Northwest expects to emerge from bankruptcy
by June 30. Executive compensation has been a ﬂash
point among Northwest’s unionized employees, who
swallowed $1.4 billion in cuts to keep the company
aﬂoat. Northwest says the percentage of equity that
top managers will receive is below average for compa-
nies emerging from Chapter 11.
Central banks cool on dollar
The share of the dollar in central banks’ reserves fell
to its lowest in a decade in the ﬁnal quarter of 2006,
while the euro’s share rose, the International Mone- on shaky tactics
tary Fund said. The IMF data, covering about two-
thirds of the world’s foreign exchange reserves, by desperate sellers
showed central banks held 64.8% of their reserves in
dollars vs. 65.8% in the previous quarter. That repre- By Noelle Knox
sents the lowest share for the dollar since the end of USA TODAY
1996, when it stood at 62%.
Maytag ﬁnds new lonely guy The crisis in risky mortgage loans is
shedding light on aggressive lending
Maytag, which held a nationwide casting call for a practices by some of the largest U.S.
new Maytag Repairman, is scheduled to announce to- home builders, which
day that Clay Jackson of Richmond, Va., will become its
latest ad icon. Jackson, a Realtor with professional act- Real Estate stand accused of using
lax standards and illegal
ing experience, is the fourth person to play the lonely sales tactics to arrange ﬁnancing for
repairman since it was created in 1967. More than buyers.
1,500 people auditioned, the company says. Last week, Beazer Homes acknowl-
U.S. plans new duties on Chinese imports edged that its mortgage subsidiary is
being investigated by federal regulators
The U.S. Commerce Department, reversing more for loans made to hundreds of people
than two decades of practice, said it would levy new who bought Beazer homes. But the
duties on imports from China to compensate for Chi- complaints about loan practices go be-
nese subsidies to exporters. The change of policy by yond Beazer.
the Bush administration, which debated the action for The Department of Housing and Ur-
months, applies initially to imports of coated paper ban Development is taking more actions
from China. It also opens the way for steel companies, against home builders and their afﬁliat-
textile producers and other manufacturers facing com- ed lenders, says Brian Sullivan, a spokes-
petition from China to apply for the same protection, man for HUD.
which retailers oppose because it will raise the cost of “We are seeing increased consumer
Chinese-made goods. The Chinese government Sat- complaints about builders,” Sullivan
urday called on the U.S. to reconsider. says. “Including kickbacks and illegal re-
Spending and incomes rise ferral fees, phantom incentives and oth-
By Web Bryant, USA TODAY
er violations of our real estate laws.”
Despite a sluggish economy, consumers spent more One of those complaints was from
in February as their incomes showed strong gains. Un-
derlying inﬂation pressures grew at the fastest pace in
six months, however. The Commerce Department re-
ChoicePoint redeemed itself, descript business park 20 miles north of Atlanta, also em-
braced extensive reforms. The result: ChoicePoint is re-
Griff Carmichael, who looked at a new
home built by Ryan Homes in Winches-
ported consumer spending and personal incomes rose but not all brokers as careful garded by a dozen leading privacy advocates interviewed
by USA TODAY as the most responsible company among
ter, Va., in October. The builder said it
would ﬁnish the basement and give him
0.6% last month. The report showed that an inﬂation dozens in the lightly regulated, fast-growing ﬁeld of aggre- $10,000 toward closing costs, if he used
barometer that excludes energy and food shot up by By Jon Swartz and Byron Acohido gating and selling sensitive information. its lender, NVR.
0.3% in February, the most since a similar rise last Au- USA TODAY “ChoicePoint transformed itself from a Carmichael signed a contract to buy a
gust. That left core inﬂation at 2.4% over the past 12
months, higher than the Federal Reserve’s 1% to 2% ALPHARETTA, Ga. — In a remarkable turnaround, Choi-
poster child of data breaches to a role model
for data security and privacy practices,”
Cover $378,000 home and put down a 10% de-
posit. He had a good credit history. But
comfort zone. The year-over-year increase has not
been exceeded since a 2.5% jump in April 1995.
cePoint, the giant data broker excoriated two years ago for
its lack of precautions as it went about gathering and selling
says Gartner analyst Avivah Litan.
Despite ChoicePoint’s makeover, there’s
story with his auto and student loans, NVR’s
loan broker said Carmichael would
10 outside directors proposed at Delta personal data, has recast itself as a model corporate citizen. rising concern among privacy experts and legislators about qualify only for an interest-only mort-
California’s milestone data-theft disclosure law forced the frenetic business of assembling and distributing per- gage, according to a letter from James
Delta Air Lines, in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorgani- ChoicePoint in February 2005 to reveal that it had sold sen- sonal data. Everyone, it seems, wants Social Security num- Sack, NVR’s general counsel.
zation, proposed 10 outside directors for its new sitive information for at least 166,000 people to a Nigerian bers, birth dates, maiden names, criminal records, civil Carmichael, 34, was willing to apply
board. They include Richard Anderson, the former CEO con artist posing as a debt collector. The Federal Trade Com- judgments and real estate records. Lenders, landlords and for the loan but insisted it be a “full doc-
of Northwest Airlines; Cleveland-Cliffs Chairman John mission hit ChoicePoint with a record $10 million ﬁne and employers want as much data as they can get their hands umentation” loan, which has a lower in-
Brinzo; and former chiefs of Eastman Kodak, American ordered it to set aside $5 million to aid data breach victims. terest rate than “low-doc” loans. But the
Express, Norfolk Southern and Target Stores. Safeco The once-obscure data broker, tucked away in a non- Please see COVER STORY next page u broker said he would likely be denied.
CEO Paula Rosput Reynolds will remain a Delta direc- Sack wrote that Carmichael’s “refusal to
tor. Current Delta CEO Gerald Grinstein will exit this apply for loan programs for which he is
summer but remain on the board. more likely to be approved is evidence
Banks branch out to lure family, friends
Compiled from staff and wire reports of not using good faith.” Ryan Homes is
refusing to return Carmichael’s deposit.
Interested in small business? The company has declined to com-
See what’s cooking in the world of small busi-
ness. Read Jim Hopkins’ Small Business Con- Wachovia joins others Now, banks are offering rewards for re-
ferrals so they can attract new business
and introducing others — because con-
sumers have come to expect these free-
Most of the largest builders have their
own mortgage companies or joint ven-
nection blog at smallbizblog.usatoday.com.
offering gifts for referrals as well as boost the loyalty of existing bies for everyday transactions. tures with outside lenders. The business
customers. The trend comes amid a The referral program is “not rocket reasons are compelling: Why let a buyer
USA TODAY Snapshots® By Kathy Chu low-interest-rate environment, when science because everyone gives out walk out of your model home and into a
USA TODAY more customers are shopping for higher gifts,” says Juan Carlos Cruz, a spokes- bank when you can provide the loan
rates on interest checking, savings and man at Banco Popular, which offers gifts and collect the fees and interest?
Average home equity rates Amid ﬁerce competition for deposits, certiﬁcates of deposit. Brick-and-mortar such as a panini grill and a luggage set. Once the housing market slowed,
a growing number of banks are relying banks are also ﬁghting competition from “But it’s working for us.” builders were stuck with unsold homes.
Home equity lines of credit on customer referrals to expand their Internet banks — which don’t have Why offer rewards for checking ac- More buyers canceled contracts. Mean-
business. And they’re using freebies to physical branches — whose assets have counts? They provide the “foundation” time, the builder-mortgage companies
This quarter 8.06% attract your friends and family. surged in recent years. for customers’ relationship with the faced stiff competition in a lending in-
Today, Wachovia plans to roll out its “Deposits have always been compet- bank because customers think of their dustry with loose loan standards.
6 months ago 8.21% ﬁrst national referral program, giving itive, but it’s more competitive today primary bank as the one where they Last year, the lending arm of Pulte
customers a $25 Visa gift card if they get because of Internet banks,” says Gary have a checking account, says Cece Sut- Homes settled a case with the North
Year ago 7.73% a friend to open a checking account. The Cohn, president of Datatron, a Palm ton, an executive vice president at Wa- Carolina Commissioner of Banks, which
new customer gets the same gift. Beach Gardens, Fla., company that con- chovia. found that 53 of Pulte’s mortgage bro-
Home equity loans In recent years, a handful of large and sults with banks. “It’s no longer just She adds, “When you have a checking kers were unlicensed. The $780,000
7.77% small banks — including Bank of Ameri- about a bank’s location.” account, then we have the opportunity ﬁne was reduced to $60,000 after Pulte
ca, Banco Popular and Bank of Oklaho- Adds Cohn: “The harder a bank to cross-sell different products and ser- Mortgage agreed to move operations to
ma — have adopted a similar program, makes it for you to leave, the less you’re vices.” Charlotte, creating 230 jobs in the area.
6 months ago 8.00% offering incentives such as cash to points likely to do so. If I bring a friend or family Yet with so many banks competing “Pulte Mortgage takes licensing re-
that can be redeemed for airline tickets. member in, then it complicates my life.” for your business, consumers shouldn’t quirements very seriously, and we took
Year ago 7.66% The development is a new twist on an Consumers already get points or gifts open accounts just for the gifts. “Even if I prompt corrective action,” said Mark
old strategy. For years, banks have dan- for using their credit card, shopping at recommend you to a bank, you’re the Marymee, a Pulte spokesman. He also
Source: Informa Research Services (www.informars.com/bestrates)
gled free toasters and iPods to new cus- the supermarket or drugstore. Banks say one who ultimately has to decide” noted that no customer complaints
By Jae Yang and Karl Gelles, USA TODAY tomers who open checking accounts. they are enhancing reward programs — whether it works for you, Cohn says. were involved in the case.