Global Investment News Briefs

Report: China Exports Likely Down 14%; Whirlpool Sales Sink 76%; Starbucks Adding Value Meals; Chavez: Venezuela Untouched by Crisis; Defaults on Jumbo ARMS Could Double; Satyam to Decide on Action Plan Following Scandal

  • A team of economists estimate that China's January exports likely fell 14% from a year earlier, which would be the biggest monthly decline in a decade, Bloomberg reported. With demand from the United States and Europe waning, "the implications for China's industrial sector are severe because exports account for close to 20 percent of industrial output," Isaac Meng, a senior economist at BNP Paribas SA in Beijing, told Bloomberg.
  • Sales for appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) fell 76% for the quarter, and the company said earnings would continue falling in 2009. Its debt ratings have also been downgraded to a notch about "junk" status, Reuters reported.
  • Coffee giant Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) will begin an all-day value meal, pairing its beverages with two new sandwiches starting March 3, MarketWatch reported. "Our customers need to know that we are listening to them by making Starbucks an affordable everyday option," Michelle Gass, executive vice president of marketing, said in a release. 
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his country's economy hasn't been touched by the global economic crisis, despite the country's second-biggest bank said GDP will expand 0.4% in 2009, down from 4.9% last year. Chavez is campaigning to amend the constitution so that he can seek another presidential term in 2012, Bloomberg reported.
  • Defaults on prime-jumbo hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages could double in coming months according to JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) analysts. The share of prime-jumbo mortgages at least 60 days late climbed 0.71% to 5.29% in the month covered by January bond reports.  Losses on so-called hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages backing 2006 and 2007 prime-jumbo securities will reach 8 to 10%, the analysts told Bloomberg.
  • Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (ADR: SAY) will decide on a long-term action plan by next week, including a possible sale of the company, its chairman said, as the fraud-marred outsourcer struggles for survival.  Satyam was hit by massive fraud in India's biggest corporate scandal as it disclosed that profits had been overstated for years.  Its founder and former chairman Ramalinga Raju resigned last month, Reuters reported.