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Sony Forecasts Steel Loss; Parsons New Citi Chairman; Potash Doubles 4Q Profit; Lockheed Post Profit, Issues Warning; Thain resigns from BofA; Geithner Nomination Moves Ahead; GE May Cut Dividend
- Sony Corp. (ADR: SNE) forecast a full-year operating loss of $2.9 billion as falling demand, a stronger yen and reorganization expenses cut into the company’s earnings. The forecasted loss is nearly four times analysts’ expectations, Bloomberg reported.
- Citigroup Inc. (C) named Richard Parsons as its new chairman, replacing Win Bischoff, who was brought on as Citi chairman 13 months ago. Parsons is a former chief executive of Time Warner Inc. (TWX), Reuters reported.
- Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (PsOT) said its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled as a result of climbing potash prices. “The big question is the extent to which farmer demand for potash and other nutrients recovers in the North American planting season,” Russell Stanley, an analyst at Jennings Capital Inc., told Bloomberg.
- While posting 3% quarterly profit growth, Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) cut its full-year forecast because of increasing pension costs, Reuters reported. The world’s top defense contractor reported a profit of $823 million, or $2.05 a share, compared with $799 million, or $1.89 a share, a year earlier.
- John Thain has resigned from his post as Bank of America (BAC) Chief Executive Officer. The giant lender lost confidence in Merrill Lynch's former CEO after he failed to tell the bank about mounting losses at Merrill late last year. Merrill lost more than $15 billion during the fourth quarter, forcing Bank of America to ask the government for billions of dollars in extra support.
- The Senate Finance Committee voted 18 to 5 to approve the nomination of Timothy Geithner to be Treasury Secretary, MarketWatch reported. Some Republicans said they could not vote for him because of errors on his tax returns uncovered by the committee. The nomination now goes to the full Senate floor where it is expected to be cleared.
- Investors may be losing faith that General Electric Co. (GE) can protect its century-old dividend in 2009. GE stock is down 23% since Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt, restated that goal a month ago. “The rating is in peril regardless of what they do at this point, because the environment is just that bad,” Peter Sorrentino, who co-manages $16 billion at Huntington Asset Advisors Inc., told Bloomberg News.