Hourly Workers Protest at Delphi
Delphi's largest union, the United Auto Workers, joined groups representing other hourly workers in picketing against cost-cutting moves by the auto parts supplier, including pay reductions. The unions oppose Delphi's plan to award 600 executives bonuses totaling $88 million when the company emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Separately, a bankruptcy court judge ruled that Delphi can enter into amended agreements with its critical suppliers, which may help the company cut costs and debt while continuing to supply automakers during its restructuring.
US Airways Orders 20 New Planes
US Airways Group ordered 20 Airbus A350 planes, honoring its promise to buy the aircraft aimed at transatlantic flights as part of a financing deal for its acquisition by America West Airlines. The European aircraft maker provided financing to help America West Holdings complete its purchase of US Airways. As part of that deal, the airline agreed to buy the 20 planes, designed to compete with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
Financial terms were not disclosed. At list price, the 20 planes would be worth an estimated $4 billion, but buyers of multiple planes often get discounts.
Calpine Ousts 2 Top Executives
Power merchant Calpine replaced longtime chief executive Peter Cartwright and chief financial officer Robert D. Kelly in a shake-up that sent the company's stock price below $1 as investors fretted about a possible bankruptcy. Board member Kenneth Derr, who retired as Chevron chief executive in 1999, will lead the company temporarily. Eric Pryor was named interim finance chief.
Cartwright and Kelly presided over an aggressive expansion that transformed Calpine into one of the nation's largest electricity wholesalers. But the buildup saddled Calpine with heavy debt, and its position has worsened in the past two years with weak customer demand and rising natural gas expenses.
Fannie, Freddie Raise Loan Limit
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will raise the limit on the size of single-family home mortgages they will buy by 16 percent, to $417,000, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said. The move, the biggest in 25 years, increases the pool of buyers who qualify for lower-cost financing.
The government requires the federally chartered mortgage finance companies to base annual increases for their maximum loan size on the percentage gain of average home prices in October from a year earlier.
Icahn Pressures Time Warner
Billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn hired investment bank Lazard to conduct an "in-depth strategic analysis" of Time Warner and develop a plan to boost the company's share price. Lazard will also advise on nominating directors to replace a majority of the board, Icahn said.
Icahn's has been pushing Time Warner to increase stock buybacks to $20 billion and spin off assets. Chief executive Richard D. Parsons earlier this month more than doubled the stock buyback to $12.5 billion in response to Icahn's campaign, which began in August.
Factory Orders Rise in October
Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose sharply in October, and consumer confidence soared in November, indications that the economy is recovering from the blow delivered by the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods rose by 3.4 percent last month, erasing a 2 percent decline in September. The Conference Board, a private research company, said falling gasoline prices and an improved employment outlook lifted confidence in November to a reading of 98.9, up from 85.2 in October.
SEC Scrutinizing Hedge Funds
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the growing role of hedge funds in bankruptcy proceedings on concern that money managers are overstating their bond holdings to get access to inside information.
SEC officials are trying to determine whether the funds exaggerate their stakes to gain membership on committees that oversee debt restructurings for companies under bankruptcy protection.
Medtronic Warns on Pacemakers
Medical device maker Medtronic warned doctors that wires on some of its Sigma pacemakers could separate, preventing the devices from working. The problem was found in 14 of 19 devices. No patient deaths or injuries have been reported.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.