Best Buy Names New CEO; IBM to Post Strong 2008 Earnings; BHP Cuts 6,000 Jobs; GM Loses Sales Crown to Toyota; Investors Retreat From Hedge Funds; Housing Market Index Hits New Low; Satyam Seeks Funding; Crude Futures Climb
- Best Buy Co. (BBY) crowned chief operating officer Brian Dunn as the electronics retailer's new chief executive. Dunn, 48, started his career at Best Buy as a store associate in 1985 and will succeed retiring Bradbury Anderson, MarketWatch reported.
- IBM Corp. (IBM) will beat analysts' estimates for its 2008 earnings. The company said yesterday (Wednesday) that its income will rise to at least $9.20 a share in 2009, ahead of the $8.75 average estimated by Bloomberg. "They're using the current climate as an opportunity to cut costs. This is a pre-emptive strategy for improving profitability," Gartner Inc. analyst Carl Claunch told Bloomberg.
- As global demand for commodities continues to fall, BHP Billiton Ltd. (ADR: BHP) is slashing 6,000 jobs and could face a $1.7 billion charge for closing a nickel mine in Australia. "It's a sign that we are in for a pretty sustained downturn," Ken West, a partner at Perennial Investment Partners Ltd., told Bloomberg. "They are trying to realign their cost base."
- After a 77-year run, General Motors Inc. (GM) officially lost the crown as world's largest automaker to Toyota Motor Corp. (ADR:TM), Reuters reported. Global vehicle sales for GM dropped 11% in 2008 to 8.35 million. Toyota's global sales slipped 4% and to 8.87 million units.
- Investors pulled a record $155 billion out of hedge funds last year, according to Chicago-based tracking firm Hedge Fund Research. Hedge funds around the world now manage an estimated $1.4 trillion, , The Associated Press reported.
- The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index dropped one point to a record-low of 8 this month after stagnating at a reading of 9 for the previous two months. The index has been below 50 since May 2006 and below 20 since April. A reading higher than 50 indicates positive sentiment about the market.
- Satyam Computer Services (ADR: SAY) is seeking emergency funding and will hire an investment bank today (Thursday) to help the company explore its options. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) are reportedly on the company's shortlist.
- Oil prices edged up yesterday (Wednesday) as the market rebounded from Tuesday's decline. Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose $2.23, or 6.11% to settle at $38.74 a barrel on the New York Stock Exchange.