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Tickers: May 6


Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. returned to profitability in the first quarter, bouncing back from a loss a year ago when it absorbed a big write-down, the Associated Press reported. The New York-based company, which has operations in Urbandale, said it earned $176 million, or 33 cents per share, during the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $210 million, or 40 cents per share, during the same time a year ago. The year-ago loss was primarily the result of a $425 million asset impairment charge on the company’s corporate security business, Kroll. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, had forecast a profit of 43 cents per share for the quarter.

Wells Fargo & Co. announced that it will lay off 548 workers in Charlotte, N.C., in a notice filed with the North Carolina Department of Commerce. According to the notice, the affected employees work in eight buildings and their departure dates range from Feb. 2 to July 27, “with the majority of them occurring in the next couple of months,” the Triangle Business Journal reported. On Monday, the company announced plans to eliminate about 100 positions in its Northeast Florida mortgage operations. That division handled Wachovia Corp.’s pick-a-pay and option-adjustable-rate mortgages, which the bank no longer writes.

Community State Bank (CSB) pledged $30,000 to the Ankeny Dog Park project in an exclusive title sponsorship agreement. The bank will commit $10,000 per year for three years beginning in 2009. CSB President Mark Degner presented the first $10,000 installment at the May 4 Ankeny City Council meeting.

Constellation Energy Group Inc. lost $124 million, or 62 cents per share, in the first quarter due to costs associated with the sales of several business units and a failed $4.7 billion merger with Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. In September, MidAmerican proposed a takeover bid for the Baltimore-based company, but was rejected. Constellation sold two commodities-trading business units and is advancing a proposed sale of 49.99 percent of its nuclear business to French company EDF Group.

British insurer Aviva plc, which has major operations in Des Moines, is exploring selling its Australian business, which is valued at up to $735 million, sources with direct knowledge of the process told Reuters. Sources said Aviva’s advisers, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co., have set Friday as the deadline to submit indicative bids, with final bids due in early June. All three companies declined to comment.

Clay Jones, chairman, president and CEO of Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins Inc., will speak at the Macquarie Capital Aerospace and Defense Conference in New York on May 14 at 7 a.m. Iowa time. A live audio webcast of the presentation will be available on the company’s Web site at www.rockwellcollins.com.

Five Drake University alumni will be recognized for their career accomplishments and loyalty to the school at the annual Drake Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 16. Jennifer Jacobs Henderson, Carrie Blumenfeld, Joan Behrendt Middleton, Richard Hartig and Bill Bryson are the honorees. The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. in Parents Hall in Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave. The cost is $25. For more information or to make a reservation, call the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs at (515) 271-2500.

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