Monday, June 1, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - June 1

General Motors Files for Bankruptcy - GM filed for bankruptcy Monday morning after months of the company and government tried to avoid it. At the same time, GM (and Citigroup) was being removed from the Dow 30. In the bankruptcy filing, the company reported total assets of $82.3 billion on a consolidated basis with total debt of $172.8 billion.

"Today marks a defining moment in the reinvention of GM as a leaner, more customer-focused, and more cost-competitive company that, above all, can quickly generate winning bottom line results," CEO Fritz Henderson said. "The economic crisis has caused enormous disruption in the auto industry, but with it has come the opportunity for us to reinvent our business. We are going to do it once and do it right."

The government's stake in the new GM will be about 60%, and it hopes bankruptcy will be a quick 60-90 day process. The U.S. government will provide $30 billion in bankruptcy financing to allow the company to operate as it restructures $27 billion debt and pension liabilities.

Changes in the Dow 30 Index - What is the most recent change in the financial markets? Changes in the Dow... According to The Wall Street Journal, GM and Citigroup are being removed by Dow Jones. The replacements, which will be effective June 8, will be Cisco Systems for GM and Travelers for Citigroup.

Construction Spending Up Thanks to Home Improvements - Construction spending rose 0.8% in April, the biggest gain since August, as outlays for home improvements grew, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Spending on private-sector residential projects increased 0.7% as home improvements rose 8.9%. Outlays for new construction on single-family homes fell 6.7%, the 38th consecutive decline. Outlays for private-sector non-residential projects rose 1.8%, led by power, manufacturing and communications structures. Outlays for public-sector projects fell 0.6%.

Manufacturing Sees Improvements - The Institute for Supply Management index rose to 42.8% in May from 40.1% in April. The 42.8% is its highest reading since September 2008.

Copper Rises to Seven Month High - Copper futures climbed to their highest level in more than seven months after China, the biggest copper consumer, reported its May manufacturing expanded for a third month. Two competing purchasing-manager indexes released Monday showed Chinese factory activity remained on an uptrend in May.

Personal Savings Rate Increases - The US personal savings rate increased to a 14-year high of 5.7% in April as after-tax incomes were boosted by provisions of the economic stimulus plan the Commerce Department reported Monday.

Court Clears Fiat Deal for Chrysler - Chrysler said Monday that a federal bankruptcy court has approved its request to sell its operations to Chrysler Group LLC, the new company formed in alliance with Italy's Fiat SpA. The revamped Chrysler could exit bankruptcy as soon as Monday after Judge Arthur Gonzalez of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York cleared a $2 billion transaction in connection with the deal.

"With this approval, the new Chrysler Group is created and can prepare to launch as a vibrant new company formed with Fiat," said Robert Nardelli, chairman and chief executive of Chrysler LLC, in a statement.

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