We’ll go with the Journal on this one—the Times bizarrely attributes the significant after-hours decline to Microsoft not spelling out what exactly it will do regarding its $44 billion bid for Yahoo, which isn’t cooperating.
The software giant says it hasn’t seen much of a consumer slowdown yet, though it expects one to come.

Best hed
Headline of the Day, from the Journal’s Marketplace cover: “Mozilo’s Pay Plunged 79%; He Still Made $10.8 Million”.

Mozilo, of course, is Angelo Mozilo, the Countrywide CEO known for his leathery tan and his subprime lending.

But the Journal’s story then goes on to say he also raked in $121.5 million from exercising stock-options, which last we knew was considered part of total compensation.

Rumormongers afoot

The Securities and Exchange Commission accused a trader of spreading false rumors in order to sell a stock short and make a quick profit. ADS stock fell seventeen percent on the rumor and the trader made $25,000.

The FT says the case will increase pressure to investigate whether false rumors helped bring down Bear Stearns. The WSJ says it will “inflame critics of short-selling” and put a spotlight on “rumormongering.”

Many company executives, especially some Wall Street CEOs, have been complaining bitterly that short sellers are profiting from spreading false rumors about major firms, essentially manipulating the market. These executives and some members of Congress have argued that this kind of behavior is a problem the SEC needs to address more aggressively.

The trader settled the case and is barred from working for a brokerage.

Shelved in Seattle

The WSJ takes an A1 look at the state of commercial real-estate mega-projects across the country and finds that many are being scaled back or scrapped altogether. The latest is a thirteen-acre prime land parcel in Seattle that’s been yanked off the market.

The Seattle project joins other projects in New York, Phoenix, Atlanta and Las Vegas that have been shelved, scaled back or beset by financial problems in recent months. Many city officials hoped they would provide jobs and economic activity that could help make up for a housing-market downturn that still hasn’t reached bottom.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.