German Gov't Takes 25% Bank Stake; Walgreen Cutting 1,000 Jobs; Boeing Orders Fall 53%, TD Ameritrade Acquires thinkorswim; Gas Dispute Continues; BOE Cuts Rates; Lenovo Sheds Jobs; Crude Down Again
- Germany's government will take a 25% stake in its second-largest bank, Commerzbank AG (ADR:CRZBY). The 10 million euro ($13.7 billion) investment comes as Commerzbank is completing its acquisition of Dresdner Bank from Allianz SE (AZ), Bloomberg reported.
- Walgreen Co. (WAG) said it plans to cut about 1,000 jobs outside its drugstores, part of a plan that aims to save $1 billion annually by its fiscal 2011. Part of the plan is offering retirement and severance programs, as well as slowing its expansion plans in the face of slumping consumer demand, Reuters reported.
- Orders for airliners fell 53% last year for Boeing Co. (BA), while deliveries fell 15% largely a result of workers' strike. Boeing took a total of 662 orders, the first time since 2004 that number was less than 1,000, Reuters reported.
- Brokerage firm TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) agreed to acquire online brokerage thinkorswim Group Inc. (SWIM), for $606 million in cash and stock. The move bolsters TD Ameritrade's share of the options and foreign exchange markets, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- The Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly OAO Gazprom and NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy yesterday (Thursday) held talks over 2009 gas prices for the first time since negotiations collapsed on New Year's Eve. But late over Gazprom's insistence that Russians be among the observers in Ukraine, The Associated Press reported. Kiev agreed to EU monitors, not Russians.
- The Bank of England (BOE) yesterday (Thursday) cut interest rates by half a percentage point to a record low of 1.5%. It is the first time rates in Britain have fallen below 2% — a level that was not even breached during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
- Lenovo Group Ltd. (OTC: LNVGY), the world's fourth-biggest PC maker, said yesterday (Thursday) that it will cut 2,500 jobs as part of a restructuring effort to cope with falling demand. The company The company also said it would consolidate its China and Asia Pacific organizations into a single Asia Pacific and Russia (APR) business unit, and cut executive compensation by 30%-50%, Reuters reported.
- Crude futures retreated for a second consecutive day yesterday (Thursday), as light, sweet crude for February delivery fell 93 cents, or 2.17%, to settle at $41.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices tumbled more than 12% Wednesday – the largest single-day percentage decline since September 2001.