National business briefs

Congress expecting more sacrifices from automakers

DETROIT (AP) — A list of job cuts, shuttered factories, canceled bonuses and commitments to fuel-efficient cars won’t be enough next week when U.S. automakers get another shot to persuade Congress to give them $25 billion in loans. Through the Thanksgiving weekend, teams will be tagging more meat to throw at skeptical lawmakers who vilified the automakers’ top executives the last time they went to Washington. That means executive pay cuts, union concessions, and perhaps even higher fuel economy requirements and a glimpse at top-secret product plans.


Oil prices tumble; gas falls to 2004 levels

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Oil prices fell nearly 7 percent Tuesday and gasoline prices fell to levels not seen since 2004 as a raft of lousy news about the economy, housing and the consumer state of mind suggested the U.S. is headed toward the worst recession in decades. Consumers and businesses have pulled back on energy spending, with massive layoffs and cost-cutting across almost every sector. That means less money will go toward powering everything from industrial plants to automobiles. Light, sweet crude for January delivery on Tuesday tumbled $3.73 to settle at $50.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


Obama: Economic rescue will trump deficit fight

CHICAGO (AP) — The economy growing weaker, President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday that recovery efforts will trump deficit concerns when he takes office in January. Yet he pledged a ”page-by-page, line-by-line” budget review to root out unneeded spending. The president-elect set no goals for reducing the federal deficit — now in record territory and headed ever higher — an obvious contrast to Monday’s announcement that he hopes to create a recession-busting 2.5 million jobs by 2010.


FDIC adds 54 more banks to its ‘problem list’

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday the list of banks it considers to be in trouble shot up nearly 50 percent to 171 during the third quarter — yet another sign of escalating problems among the institutions controlling Americans’ deposits. The 171 banks on the FDIC’s “problem list” encompass only about 2 percent of the nearly 8,500 FDIC-insured institutions. Still, the increase from 117 in the second quarter is sharp, and the current tally is the highest since late 1995.


DR Horton swings to $800 million loss

(AP) — D.R. Horton Inc.’s chief executive said Tuesday he expects this fiscal year to be even more challenging than 2008, which ended with a nearly $800 million quarterly loss on slower home sales and more than $1 billion in charges. The Fort Worth, Texas-based homebuilder reported a net loss of $799.9 million, or $2.53 a share, compared to a loss of $50.1 million or 16 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Total sales for the quarter were $1.75 billion, down from $3.12 billion in the fourth quarter 2007. The company sold 6,961 homes in the fourth quarter, down 41percent from year-ago levels.


AIG restricts exec compensation, CEO gets a dollar

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — American International Group Inc. said Tuesday it is limiting how much it pays its top executives, including granting a $1 salary for this year and the same for 2009 to its Chief Executive Edward Liddy. The decision is one of many broader moves made by the troubled. The New York-based insurer, which has been under pressure to restrict executive pay since accepting billions in government assistance to save it from collapse. has received about $150 billion so far, more than any other company.


Fannie Mae names Johnson chief financial officer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fannie Mae said Tuesday it named David Johnson to serve as the mortgage giant’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, beginning immediately. Johnson joins the company from Hartford Financial Services Group, where he served as chief financial officer and executive vice president. His predecessor at Fannie Mae, Stephen Swad, left the company in August and was temporarily replaced by David C. Hisey, formerly Fannie’s senior vice president and controller.


First signs of consolidation in ethanol industry

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The first salvo may have been fired this week in a long-awaited shakeout for the U.S. ethanol industry. VeraSun Energy Corp., the nation’s No. 2 ethanol producer, announced it had received an unsolicited takeover bid one month after seeking bankruptcy protection, and just hours after the nation’s biggest producer, Poet LLC, said it was talking with other companies about buyouts. 

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