April 20th, 2009
12:08 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Survey shows ‘recession abating’

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/04/14/gm.recall/art.gm.logo.afp.gi.jpg caption="General Motors says that about 1,600 salaried workers will lose their jobs in the next few days."]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

A key survey of leading businesses showed Monday that the nation's economy remained weak in the first quarter, but it also hinted that the decline is slowing.

The National Association of Business Economics' April Industry Survey "provides fresh evidence that the U.S. economy's recession is abating," said Sara Johnson, an analyst on the survey.

"Declines still out number gains, but fewer firms are reporting declines and more are reporting gains," Johnson said. "This suggests that the economy is at an inflection point but has not yet reached a turning point."

The big bank hot streak continues. Bank of America surprised Wall Street this morning by reporting a first quarter profit of $4.2 billion. That was well ahead of expectations.

But the stock fell sharply out of the gate as the bank warned of "deteriorating credit quality."

Over the past two weeks, rivals Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and even Citigroup - which like Bank of America has received $45 billion in government assistance - have all delivered earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

Stocks opened lower this morning as investors turn their attention to a slew of mergers and those numbers from Bank of America.

Among the day’s deals, Oracle says it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy server builder Sun Microsystems in a deal worth $7.4 billion.

The announcement comes after Sun reportedly rejected a $7 billion buyout offer from IBM earlier this month.

And PepsiCo is offering about $6 billion to buy the shares it does not already own in its two largest bottlers to cut costs and secure control of its brands as growth switches to new non-carbonated drinks.

The company's plan to consolidate its bottling business underlines an industry trend and would give it control of 80% of its North America beverage distribution volume.

General Motors says that about 1,600 salaried workers at will lose their jobs in the next few days as the troubled automaker accelerates cost cuts in order to qualify for more government aid.

GM said in February it planned to cut 3,400 of its 29,500 U.S. salaried employees, with the majority of cuts completed by May 1.

President Obama plans to crack down on deceptive credit-card industry practices that have saddled consumers with huge debts and soaring interest rates, administration officials said Sunday.

White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said the president would be “very focused in the very near term on a whole set of issues having to do with credit card abuses.”

“We need to do things to stop the marketing of credit in ways that addict people to it,” Summers said in an interview on the NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

And ExxonMobil shoved aside Wal-Mart Stores to retake the top spot on the Fortune 500, proving that Big Oil was king of the economy last year.

ExxonMobil was the top selling-company in 2008, with nearly $443 billion in revenue, a jump of almost 19% from the prior year. The oil giant was also the most profitable, with earnings of $45.2 billion.

Wal-Mart, which reigned as No. 1 on the Fortune 500 the past two years, slipped to second place.

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • Oil • Unemployment • Wal-Mart • Wall St.
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Some gains--some losses--but the economic unstability still remains-only time will tell.

    April 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  2. meenas17

    A very good statistics. But realy "Is the recession abating?.I am not too sure,.

    April 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm |