Business briefs

Gregoire brings trade message to Mexico City

MEXICO CITY - Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday criticized the construction of a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border and lamented the Congress' failure to approve an immigration bill.

Gregoire is in Mexico City on a five-day trade mission to promote Washington wine, apples and cherries. She said her state's agricultural industry would greatly benefit from an immigration bill.

Gregoire plans to meet President Felipe Calderon today to talk about educational exchanges and ways to increase Washington's exports to Mexico.

Gregoire, who arrived Monday on Aeromexico's inaugural direct flight from Seattle to the Mexican capital, said Mexico is one of Washington's top 10 trade partners.


Home Depot reports bleaker financial outlook

ATLANTA - The Home Depot Inc., the world's largest home improvement store chain, on Tuesday cited continued weakness in the housing market and the sale of its wholesale distribution business as it issued a bleaker-than-expected financial outlook for the year.

But the Atlanta-based company also said it was launching a tender offer for 250 million shares of its common stock at a price range of $39 to $44 per share as part of a larger program to buy back up to $22.5 billion of its stock.

Home Depot shares rose 2 cents to $40.25 Tuesday.


Sears Holdings issues second-quarter warning

CHICAGO - Sears Holdings Corp. surprised Wall Street on Tuesday, warning its second-quarter earnings will likely fall well below expectations because of more disappointing sales at its Sears and Kmarts.

The news tanked Sears' stock, which fell more than 10 percent to a 10-month low before rebounding slightly.

It would be the second earnings miss in a row for the department store chain led by Chairman Eddie Lampert, a hedge-fund guru who acquired Kmart in 2003 and Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 2005.


Euro reaches record level against the U.S. dollar

NEW YORK - The euro shot to an all-time high against the U.S. dollar Tuesday on concerns about the U.S. economy that were fueled by discouraging growth forecasts from key retailers and homebuilders.

The British pound, which has been trading around 26-year highs against the dollar, briefly touched $2.0273 after reports showed British consumer prices were rising at a faster pace than the target set by the Bank of England.

The euro hit a record of $1.3738 Tuesday, its highest level against the dollar since the 13-nation currency started trading in 1999, before retreating to $1.3729. That was still above the euro's previous high of $1.3682 reached on April 27 and the $1.3623 it bought late Monday in New York.