News round-up: 4 Sep 2008

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Today’s round-up looks at the auto industry, financial services, politics, and the economy.

North American sales were absolutely horrible for the Big Three automakers despite the fall in gas prices. Even Toyota saw a slump. But, the Big Three fared much worse. Will they be bailed out?

Globally, the economy is looking pretty poor especially in the Eurozone where Q2 saw a 0.2% contraction in GDP. Ireland is looking particularly worrisome. And with European retail sales falling in July, Q3 is looking grim. In North America, the picture is mixed but with the U.S. tax stimulus effects fading, we should know soon whether the economy contracts in Q3. I believe it will. Read the synopsis on the Fed’s beige book to see what they think.

In politics, its all about Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate. I am writing this synopsis before she speaks at the Republican Convention. Let’s see how she does.


Personal Finance
America’s most affordable places to retire – National Post
Wednesday’s Personal Finance stories – Market Watch

Autos
Toyota August U.S. auto sales down 9.4 percent – Reuters
Ford August U.S. sales fall 26.6 percent – Reuters
Nissan U.S. August sales up – Reuters
Chrysler U.S. sales plunge 34% in August – SMH
GMAC to cut 5,000 jobs at ResCap mortgage unit – Reuters
Porsche sales fall 45% in North America – Times Online (I decided to get an Escalade Hybrid instead)
Ottawa to invest $80-million in Ford facilities – National Post
Harper to aid Ontario’s ailing auto sector – Globe & Mail

Financial Services
Barclays May Face 7.5 Billion-Pound Capital Shortfall – Bloomberg
Ex-Credit Suisse brokers accused in ARS scheme – Reuters
First Horizon National shares fall on warning – Market Watch
Ambac Sees $2.1 Billion Reversal of Q2 Gain – Housing Wire
Crash Landing – Portfolio
Property investments delivering: ING – SMH
Bank of Canada holds benchmark rate at 3% – National Post

Politics
GOP Tightens Image Control As Palin Prepares for Debut – WSJ
Palin expected to draw big ratings for Republicans – Market Watch
Palin, McCain Undercut by `Character’ Fixation: Amity Shlaes – Bloomberg
Palin Not Helping McCain with Women Voters – Political Wire
McCain had criticized earmarks from Palin – LA Times
Will McCain Die in Office? – Political Wire

Economy
Housing Remains Weak, Economy Slowing: Fed – Housing Wire
Hurricane Gustav damage expected to cost up to $7bn – Guardian
Eurozone economy shrinks by 0.2% – BBC News
European retail sales fall in July – SMH
UK services industry shrinks for fourth month – Telegraph
Britain’s largest pub landlord scraps its dividend – Guardian
Ireland: Unemployment hits 10-year high – Irish Independent
Ireland: Service sector decline continues for third straight month – Irish Independent
Irish company profits worse than previously thought – Irish Independent

Technophile’s Corner
Google launches Microsoft’s big fear – FT

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