CNN Financial News Producer
Big developments today for two of Detroit’s Big Three.
General Motors says it’s fallen far short of the bondholder support it needed for its proposed debt-for-stock offer, virtually guaranteeing that the nation's largest automaker will be forced to file for bankruptcy court protection within the next five days.
And in a sign that a bankruptcy filing could come as early as Friday, GM moved up the pay date for its employees this week.
Hourly employees represented by the UAW were paid today and salaried employees will be paid on Thursday. Both normally would have been paid on Friday.
Chrysler in court
It’s is judgment day for Chrysler and hundreds of auto dealers. A federal judge in Chrysler’s Chapter 11 case could decide today whether to give the automaker permission to sell the bulk of its assets to a group headed by Italy's Fiat in the hope of saving itself from liquidation.
Lawyers for Chrysler say the Fiat deal is the company's only hope to avoid being sold off in pieces, but more than 300 objections to the sale have been filed by the carmaker's dealers, bondholders and former employees.
But if the deal doesn't close by June 15, Fiat could back out.
Economists see recession ending this year
A group of leading economists say the end of the recession is in sight.
But while the economy is showing signs of stabilizing, the recovery will be more moderate than is typical following a severe downturn, the National Association for Business Economics said in a report released this morning.
The panel of 45 economists said it expects economic growth will rebound in the second half of 2009. However, the group still expects to see a decline in second-quarter economic activity.
Home sales inch up
The residential real estate market picked up slightly in April, as increasingly affordable home prices attracted wary buyers.
The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously-owned homes ticked up nearly 3% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million units, compared to the revised rate of 4.55 million in March.
Sales came in slightly ahead of expert forecasts of 4.66 million annual units but are still off 3.5% from the 4.85 sold 12 months ago.
First-time homebuyers continued to drive sales but there was also a seasonal rise of repeat buyers. Additionally, the median price of homes sold in April was just $170,200, a more than15% year-over-year drop.
Crude tops $63 per barrel
Crude oil prices climbed above $63 per barrel today after a Saudi oil minister said the global economy has strengthened enough to cope with oil at $75-$80 a barrel and that level will be hit soon as fuel demand picks up.
Oil has already climbed from a low of $32.40 last December to six-month highs well above $60 a barrel this week.
Still, crude remains well below the all-time high of $147 per barrel that it hit last July.
Gas approaching $2.50 per gallon
Gas prices rose 9-tenths of a cent to $2.434 overnight, the 29th straight increase.
In the last 29 days, the average price of gas has increased 38.6 cents, or 18.8 percent. But gas is still well below the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.
The highest gas prices are in Alaska ($2.727). The cheapest gas prices are in Missouri ($2.274).
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