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While you were sleeping: BusinessWire weekend wrap

Monday 8th December 2008

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US legislation to bail out the auto industry could be before the Congress by Monday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dropped her opposition to tap a US$25 billion energy efficiency fund.

Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have said they need some US$14 billion to continue operating through March. Lawmakers reached agreement with the Bush administration over the weekend.

Stocks rallied on Wall Street on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.1% to 8635.42. JP Morgan Chase rose 7.3% to US$33.35 and Bank of America gained 6.3% to US$15.25.

General Motors fell 0.7% to US$4.08. The US federal government would install an official top act as "car czar" to oversee a bailout of the big three American automakers, GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Lawmakers are thrashing out a proposal to provide as much as $17 billion in emergency loans, tapping an energy efficiency scheme, to help ensure GM and Chrysler from collapse.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said GM's chief executive Richard Wagoner should be forced out of the company as part of any federal aid package.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 3.7% to 876.07 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 4.4% to 1509.31.

Friday's rally wasn't enough to lift stocks last week, which fell for the fourth week in five.

President-elect Barack Obama promised the biggest investment in infrastructure, highways, bridges and state buildings, since the Eisenhower Administration.

Obama plans to create or preserve 2.5 million jobs to help revive the world's largest economy, he said in his weekly radio talk.

Figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed home loans overdue and those already facing foreclosure reached record highs in the third quarter.

US Treasury bonds rounded out their fifth weekly advance, pushing yields to a record low as evidence piled up about the US economy's slump.

The yield 10-year Treasuries fell to 2.71% and earlier touched 2.505%, the lowest since the Federal began keeping daily record in 1962. The two-year Treasury yield sank to 0.77% and 30-year Treasuries fell to about 3%.
US regulators plan to make the US$2.66 trillion municipal bond market more transparent by requiring electronic disclosure of financial statements be posted on a website accessible by investors.

Citigroup rose 4.2% to US$7.71. France's CM-CIC completed a deal to acquire Citigroup's Citibank Germany unit for 5.2 billion euros.

Deutsche Boerse, which runs the Frankfurt stock exchange, said it ended talks on a possible merger offer for NYSE Euronext, operator of the world's largest stock market.

Stocks in Europe fell, with Germany's DAX 30 declining 4% to 4381.470. France's CAC 40 fell 5.5% to 2988.01. The FTSE 100 Index declined 2.7% to 4049.37. Xstrata dropped 8.7%.

The yen rose to a five-week high against the euro as the prospects of a global recession spurred demand for Japan's currency.

The yen reached as much as 115.90 against the euro and was last at 118.08 in late New York trading on Friday. It
strengthened to 92.82 per dollar from 95.52. The dollar traded at $1.2715 per euro from $1.2691.

Crude oil fell for six straight sessions on concern the economic slump will sap demand for fuel. Crude for January delivery dropped 6.5% to US$40.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, the lowest since December 2004.

Gold fell to a two-week low. Gold futures for February delivery fell 1.7% to US$752.20 an ounce in New York.

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