October 30, 2007 in Business

GM to do fuel research in China

From Wire Reports The Spokesman-Review
 

General Motors Corp. said Monday it will set up a $250 million alternative-fuel research center in Shanghai amid efforts by global automakers to produce commercially viable alternatives to gasoline engines.

“We believe China has the potential to become a leader in the adoption of alternative propulsion systems,” said GM CEO Rick Wagoner at a news conference in Beijing.

Global automakers are stepping up research into fuel cells, biofuels, diesel and other power sources amid rising demand from governments and consumers for cleaner transportation and an alternative to expensive oil.

Wagoner said GM picked China for the research center because of its fast-growing vehicle market, large pool of talented researchers and the communist government’s push to develop alternative energy sources.

Boeing Co. said Monday its board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to $7 billion in common stock, stepping up a program that has seen the aerospace company buy back about $8 billion of its shares since resuming repurchases in 2004.

The new plan follows a $3 billion buyback approved by the board in August 2006, a program the company said is nearing completion.

“Our strong financial performance allows us to return value to our shareholders while continuing to invest in our growth and becoming more productive,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney. “We are executing a balanced cash deployment strategy that’s serving Boeing and its shareholders well.”

Boeing’s stock has climbed steadily since recovering from a slide following the 2001 terrorist attacks, which dealt a blow to its airline customers. Shares have quadrupled since early 2003 and more than doubled from pre-attack levels.

The stock jumped following the announcement and was up 97 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $96.99 Monday.

A former executive at mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. was charged Monday with insider trading after he sold stock before the company announced negative earning results three years ago, regulators said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint against Quan Zhu, 43, in Los Angeles federal court. Zhu has agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations by paying nearly $109,000, officials said.

Regulators say Zhu was tipped to nonpublic information about the company’s negative earning results in 2004.

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