Consumer Confidence at All-Time Low; Home Prices Continue Collapse; OPEC Still Not Satisfied; Whirlpool Circles the Drain; Optimistic Wall Street; Banks Balk on Buyout; Stop the Presses?
- The Conference Board said yesterday (Tuesday) that its consumer confidence index fell to 38 – the lowest level since the Conference Board began tracking consumer sentiment in 1967. The index registered a revised 61.4 in September, which makes this month’s drop the third-steepest drop on record. A year ago, the index stood at 95.2.
- The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index , The Associated Press reported. Prices in the 20-city index have plummeted more than 20% since peaking in July 2006, the group reported. The 10-city index tumbled 17.7% — the biggest decline in its 21-year history.
- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said yesterday (Tuesday) that it would continue to prop up the oil market and may call another meeting before the group's next scheduled conference in December. "If circumstances dictate we have to have another meeting, we will have a meeting before the Algerian meeting," OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri told Reuters.
- Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) said yesterday (Tuesday) it will eliminate about 5,000 jobs this year and next, as the U.S. economy continues down its path to recession. The nation's largest home appliance maker said its earnings fell 7% in the third quarter.
- Despite a market deep in bear territory, Wall Street professionals still expect year-end bonuses. According to a survey by eFinancialCareers, a unit of specialty jobs site operator Dice Holdings Inc. (DHX), 67% of workers expect a bonus for 2008. But some companies, such as Deutsche Bank AG (DB) have already announced top executives would not receive bonuses for the year, Reuters reported.
- Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR: CS) and Deutsche Bank AG (DB) yesterday (Tuesday) both refused to provide financing for the $6.5 billion buyout of Huntsman Corp. (HUN) by a unit of Apollo Global Management LLC. The banks refused to fund the purchase of the chemical company because the combined company could prove insolvent, Bloomberg News reported.
- The 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor said yesterday (Tuesday) that it would stop printing a daily edition next year in order to focus on the Internet – becoming the first nationally distributed newspaper to do so, Bloomberg News reported. And in a related story, national newspaper publisher Gannett Co. Inc. (GCI) said it would cut 10% of the workers at its community newspapers – a move that follows a cut of 3%, or 1,000 jobs, back in August. The cuts should be completed by early December and don't apply to USA Today, Gannett said. Gannett, which publishes 85 daily newspapers, recently reported that third-quarter revenue declined 9%, and said it would re-evaluate its dividend policy.