Global Investing Roundups

Ford and Toyota Sales Crash; Triple Airline Merger in Talks; GE Ponders Job Cuts; Sears Closing Stores; Oil Prices Hit 3-year Low; Discover Says More Credit-card Write-offs Likely

  • U.S. sales in November fell 31% for Ford Motor Co. (F) and 34% for Toyota Motor Corp. (ADR:TM) Every line of Ford vehicle posted falling sales, and the company responded by slashing first-quarter North American output for 38% to 430,000 vehicles, Bloomberg reported. 
  • Crippled by global slowdown, British Airways plc (OTC:BAIRY) said it is in merger talks with Australian airliner Qantas Airways and Spain’s Iberia, Reuters reported. Should the three mesh together, it would create the largest airline company.
  • U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) said it is looking for ways to cut costs, including job cuts and its finance and industrial units, in order to reach the low end of its fourth-quarter profit forecast. “Obviously the macro environment remains very challenging,” Keith Sherin, GE’s chief financial officer, said in a briefing with investors, Reuter reported. “We know that we have to reduce our cost structure in this environment.”
  • Oil prices fell to a 3-year low yesterday (Tuesday) as mounting job losses and fears of a protracted recession continued to weigh on investor confidence. Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell $2.32 - more than 4% - to settle at $46.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $46.82 earlier in the day, the lowest level since 2005.
  • U.S. credit card write-offs will continue to increase in 2009, as the unemployment rate continues to climb from the 6.5% reached in October, the top executive at Discover Financial Services (DFS), said yesterday (Tuesday) according to The Associated Press. David Nelms, Discover's chief executive, said write-offs could be near 5% in the fourth quarter and 6% in the first quarter of 2009.