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Byline: -- Staff and Wire Services

Fortress shares take off in debut

NEW YORK -- Shares of Fortress Investment Group, the first publicly traded U.S. hedge fund, soared Friday in a trading debut sure to catch the attention of many players in the $1.3 trillion hedge-fund industry.

The stock's initial public offering was priced late Thursday at $18.50 per share and rose as high as $37 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Fortress Investment Group's stock, which trades under the symbol "FIG," closed up $12.50, or 67.6 percent, at $31.00.

While a number of hedge funds have gone public in Europe, Fortress Investment Group is the first to hit the stock market in the U.S. Investors viewed the IPO as a crucial litmus test to determine whether other hedge funds will follow Fortress onto the stock market.

Chevron seeking assets of Yukos

MOSCOW -- Chevron Corp. wants to purchase disputed assets of OAO Yukos, a bankruptcy official said Friday, raising the prospect of a U.S. company participating in the liquidation of a business that drew protest from the White House and rattled investor confidence in Russia.

While it's unlikely a foreign corporation will be allowed to buy strategic production and refining assets already earmarked for Kremlin-backed monopolies, the expression of interest underscores the powerful pull of the world's biggest oil and gas industry amid mounting global competition for energy reserves.

Yukos' biggest production unit was bought three years ago by state oil group OAO Rosneft after an opaque auction.

MasterCard Q4 earnings rise

NEW YORK -- MasterCard Inc. said Friday that its fourth-quarter profit topped Wall Street expectations as consumer spending spiked, but the credit-card company warned that margin growth could slow this year. The stock tumbled nearly 10 percent after hitting a record high in early trading.

The Purchase, N.Y.-based company, which went public in May 2006, posted quarterly profit of $41 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with a loss of $53 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding the impact of litigation settlements, MasterCard reported a profit of $41 million, or 31 cents per share, in the latest period.

Revenue rose 17.2 percent, to $839 million from $716 million a year ago.

Results surpassed projections for profit of 17 cents per share on revenue of $826.9 million, according to analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Net income rose to $108.3 million, or 62 cents per share, for the three months that ended Dec. 31 versus $94.3 million, or 48 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding a 12-cent-per-share adjustment related to a licensing deal with movie director George Lucas, earnings for the current quarter totaled 74 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for net income of 67 cents per share.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 10, 2007
Words:473
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