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OPEC to Meet in November; Iceland Melts Down; Unemployment Improves; Micron Makes Cuts; National City Next to Fall?; No Christmas Cheer for Retailers
- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which produces 40% of the world’s oil, is “very likely” to cut its crude production at its next meeting on Nov. 18, according to the group’s President Chakib Khelil. “The Organization is concerned about the deteriorating economic conditions with contagion risks,” OPEC members said today in a statement. The official production quota for 11 of OPEC's members is 28.8 million barrels a day. The group exceeded that target by 390,000 barrels a day in September, according to Bloomberg estimates.
- Iceland yesterday (Thursday) took control of Kaupthing, the country's leading bank, and suspended trading on its stock exchange for two days, as it the island country struggled to overcome a financial crisis that could ultimately result in bankruptcy. Iceland’s Financial Services Authority now has control of all three of the country's major banks.
- New applications for unemployment benefits dropped from a seven-year high last week, according to the Department of Labor. Initial claims for jobless benefits dropped 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 478,000. However, the four-week average, a more stable indicator, rose to 482,500 – the highest since October 2001.
- Micron Technology Inc. (MU), the largest domestic producer of memory chips, yesterday (Thursday) announced it would reduce its staff by 15% and scale back production levels. Over-production has flooded the market, pushing memory-chip prices below the cost to produce them, Bloomberg News reported. Micron has racked up $1.9 billion in losses over the past two years.
- National City Corp. (NCC) could be the next bank to get bought out by a larger rival as financial firms look to stabilize their capital positions by buying deposit assets at discount prices. PNC Financial Services (PNC) and Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) are , Forbes reported.
- Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) and The TJX Cos. Inc. (TJX), parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s, both lowered their profit outlook as retail sector sales continue to worsen. “Consumers are bracing for recession,” Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, wrote yesterday (Thursday) in a report, Bloomberg News reported. “Credit will continue to be very difficult to come by through the holiday-shopping season, and the jobs market is likely to further deteriorate.”