General Motors Corp. is likely to announce further production cuts and possible plant closures as early as next week as it deals with slumping sales and a collapse in its stock price, a person with knowledge of the company’s plans said Friday.
The person, who did not want to be identified because the plans are not finalized, said the cuts likely will hit engine, transmission and stamping operations to correspond with a June announcement that GM would close four truck and sport utility vehicle assembly plants.
Further cuts could shore up GM’s share price, which lost nearly half its value this week, plunging to the lowest level in more than 58 years.
Wells Fargo gets OK for Wachovia
Federal antitrust regulators on Friday cleared Wells Fargo’s $11.7 billion acquisition of Wachovia Corp., capping a weeklong battle for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank.
The rapid approval comes a day after Citigroup Inc. walked away from its own efforts to buy Wachovia after talks failed to reach an agreement over how to split up the bank.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. said Thursday it would proceed with the purchase and plans to complete the deal by the end of the fourth quarter. The acquisition still needs the approval of Wachovia shareholders.
Citigroup agreed last week to buy Wachovia’s banking operations for $2.1 billion in a deal brokered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Four days later, Wells Fargo stunned Citigroup by announcing that Wachovia’s board had agreed to an $11.7 billion all-stock offer.
Wachovia to pay in telemarketer case
Wachovia Corp., completing a previously announced settlement, will pay an estimated $163 million to settle federal allegations that it failed to stop telemarketers from taking advantage of thousands of elderly consumers, authorities said Friday.
The Wachovia case, the subject of an 18-month investigation by bank regulators, was first announced in April. The parties spent several months working out some of the settlement’s details.
Federal officials say the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank didn’t act quickly enough to block telemarketers and payment processors from accessing customer accounts.
The marketers obtained customers’ bank account numbers while selling products including vouchers for discount travel and groceries and medical discount plans.
Commodities take another big drop
Gold and silver plummeted Friday after Wall Street posted another big loss and forced investors to dump holdings in precious metals to raise badly needed cash.
Gold for December delivery fell $27.50, or 3.1 percent, to settle at $859 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange earlier falling as low as $829.
December silver lost $1.275, or 10.6 percent, to settle at $10.60 an ounce on the Nymex, while December copper lost 26.15 cents, or 10.87 percent, to $2.1445 a pound.
In energy markets, crude oil fell to its lowest level in 13 months. Light, sweet crude for November delivery ended the day $8.89 lower at $77.70 a barrel on the Nymex.