Daily Digest: Iran set to free American hikers, Perry under fire, Best Buy woes

Robert Downs

Your Daily Digest for Tuesday, September 13:

American hikers could soon be released

The Iranian government has set bail for two American hikers — one of them a Minnesotan — more than two years after the two hikers were sent to Iranian jail for espionage. This comes less than a month after the Iranian Revolutionary Court sentenced the hikers to eight years for their alleged crimes.

The AP reports that an Iranian court Tuesday set bail of $500,000 each for two American men arrested more than two years ago and convicted on spy-related charges, clearing the way for their release a year after a similar bail-for-freedom arrangement for the third member of the group, Sarah Shourd, who was released last September

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview aired on NBC’s “Today” show, predicted the Americans could be freed “in a couple of days.” He described the bail offer as a “humanitarian gesture” and repeated complaints about attention for Iranians held in U.S. prisons.

Perry pounded from all angles in Tea Party debate

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry sought to undermine President Obama’s jobs plan, his conservative colleagues sought to undermine his conservative credentials on Monday during a Tea Party-sponsored debate in Florida.

The field of candidates took turns attacking Perry’s positions on illegal immigration, Social Security, and his controversial 2007 push to vaccinate Texas schoolgirls against human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer. The vaccination, given in three doses and widely supported by medical professionals, is administered when girls are around 11 or 12 years old. 

The attention he received affirms that the other conservative candidates see Perry as their main competition in the horse race for the nomination. The Huffington Post sees it as: “It’s Rick Perry against the field.” The Daily Caller, however, framed it as a more even debate between Perry and former Massachusets Gov. Mitt Romney.

Best Buy profits down 30 percent

Best Buy Co. said Tuesday its fiscal second-quarter net income fell 30 percent. In the recession consumers aren’t buying electronics at the rate they were just a year ago. 

Net income fell to $177 million, or 47 cents per share, for the three months ended Aug. 27, down from $254 million or 60 cents per share last year. Analysts expected earnings of 52 cents per share, according to a survey by FactSet.

Trying to lift its sliding stock, the company repurchased 12.7 million shares in the second quarter for $358 million.

The lack of a major smartphone introduction also hurt results, Best Buy said.

Ahead of a press call, CEO Brian Dunn said — in perfect business speak — the results reflect “continued macro challenges to overall consumer spending and lower consumer electronics industry sales.”