Oyster festival fun by the bucketful

Charlie Motto (left), Tom Judd (center) and Fred Ulmer fill buckets with oysters during the Lowcountry Oyster Festival at Boone Hall Plantation on Sunday afternoon.

Alan Hawes

NEW YORK -- The wait for an expected deal between Greece and its creditors rattled financial markets around the world Monday. Yields for U.S. government debt hit their lowest this year, the euro fell against the dollar and European stocks took a fall.

U.S. stocks dropped only slightly.

Greece and investors who bought its bonds were said to be close to a pact over the weekend. A tentative deal would replace bonds held by investment funds and banks with new ones at half the face value. The plan is aimed at cutting Greece's debt by $132 billion.

--The Dow Jones industrial average fell 6.74, or 0.1 percent, to close at 12,653.72.

--The S&P 500 fell 3.32, or 0.3 percent, to 1,313.01.

--The Nasdaq index dropped 4.6, or 0.2 percent, to 2,811.94.

Loan sale drives profit at owner of First Federal

The owner of First Federal of Charleston said Monday it posted a profit of $14.6 million for its latest quarter. That compared to net income of $210,000 for the year-earlier period, First Financial Holdings Inc said.

The figures account for dividends paid on shares of First Financial stock held by the U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

First Financial attributed the improvement in profits to its $81 million sale in October of $197.9 million in loans. The deal resulted in a pre-tax gain of $20.8 million.

The company is the largest bank owner based in the Charleston area. Its shares closed down 15 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $9.80 on Monday.

Auto parts firm Pep Boys to go private in $791M deal

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack, an auto parts chain founded more than 90 years ago, agreed to be taken private by investment firm The Gores Group for about $791 million. Pep Boys has more than 700 locations in 35 states and Puerto Rico. Its six South Carolina shops include two in the Charleston region. The chain appealed to The Gores Group in part because of Pep Boys' brand recognition, as well as its moderate pricing.

Japanese auto suppliers fined $548M for price fixing

WASHINGTON -- Two Japanese auto suppliers agreed to pay more than half a billion dollars in criminal fines for a price-fixing conspiracy in the sale of parts to U.S. automakers, the Justice Department said Monday.

Yazaki Corp. will pay $470 million, and DENSO Corp. will pay $78 million. Four Yazaki executives, all Japanese citizens, will serve up to two years in a U.S. prison. Court documents state the executives sold electrical components to automakers in the U.S. and elsewhere at inflated prices from at least January 2000 to February 2010.

AMR Corp. employees brace for big changes

DALLAS -- After dreading the news for more than two months, AMR Corp. employees will find out this week what the company's bankruptcy will mean for them, Tom Horton, chief executive of AMR and American Airlines, and other top executives will meet Wednesday with American's three unions to explain the changes the airline wants from its employees.

A company spokesman did not directly address what changes might come, but said they are necessary.