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With our investment news briefs, Money Morning provides investors with a quick overview of the most important investing news stories from all around the world.
Crude Rises Above $62/Barrel; Opel Courtship Down to Three; Unibanco CEO: 4% Second-Half GDP for Brazil; Target and BJ's Beat Expectations; Obama To Sign Credit Card "Bill of Rights"; California Could Go Broke After Voters Reject Plan; Wall Street Won't Rehire Many Workers; Indiana Pension Funds File to Block Chrysler Bankruptcy Sale
- Crude oil yesterday (Wednesday) rose above $62 a barrel, a six-month high, after the U.S. government released a report that showed inventories fell below forecasts. "The big drops in both crude and gasoline are very bullish," Nauman Barakat, senior vice president of energy at Macquarie Futures USA Inc., told Bloomberg. "If people were surprised by how fast crude oil moved from $50 to $60, they will be really shocked by how quickly the market will hit $70."
- The courtship of General Motors Corp.'s (NYSE: GM) Opel unit is down to three potential suitors – Italy's Fiat SpA (OTC ADR: FIATY), Canadian-Austrian car parts group Magna International Inc. (NYSE: MGA) and investment firm RHJ International, Reuters reported. GM has a June 1 deadline to restructure and raise capital if it wants to avoid a forced bankruptcy.
- Brazil is on the mend from its biggest economic drought and may grow as much as 4% in the second half of the year, Itau Unibanco Banco Multiplo SA's (NYSE ADR: ITU) Chief Executive Officer Roberto Setubal said at a conference in New York. "Our economy is showing very strong signs of recovery," Setubal said, Bloomberg reported. "The pace of growth is already there, and I believe we will see a very strong second semester in Brazil."
- Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. (NYSE: BJ) reported better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter. Target did so by reining in expenses and inventory. BJ's – which raised its first-quarter forecast earlier this year – cited higher-than-expected merchandise sales and margins, Reuters reported.
- President Barack Obama is expected to quickly sign a bill imposing sweeping new limits on the credit card industry passed by Congress yesterday (Wednesday), Reuters reported. The House of Representatives voted 361-64 to approve the billas adopted on Tuesday by the Senate, in a major win for the president and congressional Democrats. The so-called "Consumer's Bill of Rights" would strictly limit credit card issuers' ability to raise interest rates on cardholders' existing balances and to charge certain fees.
- California voters yesterday (Wednesday) struck down five measures backed by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democrat- led legislature that were intended to shore up the state's finances. With the governor expecting California to have $21 billion less than it needs over the next 13 months, the most-populous U.S. state is on the verge of running out of cash for the second time this year after the ballot measure defeat added $6 billion to the budget deficit, Bloomberg reported.
- Wall Street securities brokers are not expected to rehire many of the workers let go during the global financial meltdown, a New York City fiscal monitor said in a gloomy report released yesterday (Wednesday). The Wall Street firms will replace only a small number of the lost jobs by 2013 even if the industry returns to profitability next year, the city's Independent Budget Office said in the report, according to Reuters.
- A group of Indiana pension funds filed court papers late yesterday (Wednesday) objecting to a plan to auction Chrysler LLC's assets and said a U.S. District Court judge should rule on the legality of the sale, Bloomberg reported. The pension funds, which hold first lien debt of the automaker, asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez in New York to block the sale, claiming the plan is illegal and infringes their rights. The funds are also asked for appointment of a trustee to run Chrysler.