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Rio Tinto Slows Expansion; Foreign Real Estate Investors Bullish; Abbott Laboratories Buys Advanced Medical Optics; Congo Jacks Primary Rate to 55%; Ford May Need TARP; LG Chem Gets a Charge from GM
- With steel demand falling, Rio Tinto Group PLC (ADR: RTP) said it will postpone its $2.15 billion expansion of the Brazil's Corumba iron-ore mine. "We retain the option of resuming the expansion when credible signs of a market recovery are seen," Gervase Greene, a spokesman for Rio, told Bloomberg.
- The Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate is said foreign real estate investors are feeling bullish about 2009. According to the group's recent report, lenders expect to boost investments by 54% globally and by 58% in the United States, Reuters reported.
- Abbott Laboratories (ABT) said it has (EYE) for $1.36 billion, or $22 a share. The acquisition will give Abbott a strong first step into the eye-car business, Dow Jones reported.
- Facing rapid currency depreciation, the Democratic Republic of Congo raised it main interest rate to 55%, up from its previous mark of 40%. The government also raised the minimum asset share banks must hold as cash to 7% from 5%, Bloomberg reported.
- Ford Motor Co. (F) may need federal money after all as the weakening economy threatens to drive domestic sales 10% lower than the company's forecast, Bloomberg News reported. U.S. automakers and industry analysts agree that domestic sales will fall again this year after tumbling 18% in 2008 to 13.2 million vehicles, trailing the annual average of about 16 million over the past decade.
- General Motors Corp. (GM) said yesterday (Monday) it has picked LG Chem Ltd. of South Korea to supply the lithium-ion battery cells for its Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle, The Associated Press reported. The cells will be made in Korea, but they'll be assembled into battery modules and packs at a factory in Michigan.