Windsor, Ontario -- The Ford Motor Company's Canadian truck engine plant in Windsor, Ontario, will slice 300 jobs by the third week in July, the company announced.
Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, told the London (Ontario) Free Press the bad news wasn't a surprise.
"We knew if the sales kept going the way they were -- half-ton truck and SUVs have been dropping like a lead balloon in the U.S. -- that they were going to take production out, and that of course meant our engines as well as trucks," he said.
The plant employs about 1,600 people, the Windsor Star said.
Ford announced Thursday it was cutting North American production by 15 percent this quarter, 15 percent to 20 percent in the third quarter and 2 percent to 8 percent in the fourth quarter.
Galveston, Texas -- An attorney in Galveston, Texas, asked jurors to consider $950 million in damages for 10 plaintiffs suing oil giant BP after a 2005 refinery explosion.
The company has said it would set aside $2.1 billion to settle claims over the 2005 explosion that killed 15 people, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.
BP has already settled many of the 4,000 lawsuits stemming from the incident and has spent more than $1 billion overhauling the plant and installing safety systems, the Chronicle said.
Two cases have gone to trial but were settled before jurors heard any evidence, the newspaper said.
New York -- U.S. stock indexes showed narrow gains Thursday after Ford Motor Co. revised its business plan and its expectations.
With gas prices rising quickly, Ford announced it would step up production of smaller cars and scale back the on the more profitable trucks and larger cars.
By close Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 24.43 points or 0.19 percent to 12,625.62. The Standard and Poor's 500 index gained 3.64 points or 0.26 percent to 1,394.35. The Nasdaq composite index added 16.31 points or 0.67 percent to 2,464.58.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,713 stocks advanced and 1,395 declined on a volume of 1.207 billion shares traded.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 30/32 to yield 3.919 percent.
Dearborn, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. said it could not guarantee a profitable year in 2008 as U.S. consumers are backing away from its more profitable large cars and trucks.
In a conference call with reporters, Chief Executive Officer Allan Mulally said the company's job buy-out program would be offered to workers at more plants and Ford was considering lay-offs, The Detroit News reported.
Already on track to cut $5 billion from operating costs this year, the Dearborn, Mich., carmaker said it would accelerate the switch to fuel-efficient vehicles by increasing production of the Focus, Fusion, Edge and Escape. It would also increase output for the Mercury Milan and Mariner and the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKX, the News reported.
"The challenge affecting the entire industry is the accelerating shift in consumer demand away from large trucks and SUVs to smaller cars and crossovers," Mulally said.
Ottawa -- Canadians spent $19.7 billion on home renovations in 2007, up by some $2 billion from a year earlier, a federal agency reported Thursday.
A statement from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the figures were drawn from surveys in 10 urban centers across the country.
The report said the average cost of renovations was $12,800 and just 46 percent of respondents said the work was done within budget, while 37 percent said they experienced cost overruns.
As to who did the work, 31 percent said it was done by the homeowner, 26 percent said contractors were hired to do part of the job and 41 percent said contractors did the whole renovation, the CMHC said.
The corporation said the majority of upgrades -- 59 percent -- were done to update, add value or to prepare to sell, while 27 percent of homeowners said the work was necessary for basic maintenance.
Washington -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of Pirates of the Caribbean sleeping bags, due to excessive lead paint.
The sleeping bags, made in China and imported by Hoop Retail Stores LLC of Secaucus, N.J., include painted zippers that exceed lead paint standards, the CPSC said in a statement.
No injuries have been reported, but about 4,100 of the sleeping bags with portraits of movie characters Jack Sparrow and Davey Jones on the front were sold between April 2007 through October 2007 for about $25.
They were sold nationwide through Disney stores.
Consumers were advised to take the sleeping bags from children and return them to any Disney Store for a full refund.
Consumers can also call the retailer at 866-902-2798 for more information.
Washington -- Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages declined slightly in the United States in the last week, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said Thursday.
The average 30-year fixed interest rate was 5.98 percent with an average 0.5 point, compared with 6.01 percent for the previous week, Freddie Mac said.
A year ago, 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 6.37 percent.
At 5.55 percent with an average 0.6 point, the 15-year fixed rate also declined, down from 5.6 percent the previous week.
Interest rates fell "on news of both weaker industrial production in April and consumer sentiment falling in May," Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said.
"Housing woes still plague the economy," he said. "Although housing starts unexpectedly rose in April, all of the gains were in multifamily properties," he said.
Ottawa -- Retail sales in Canada in March were nearly flat, with just a 0.1 percent monthly gain to $35.5 billion, the Statistics Canada agency reported Thursday.
With the exception of February 2008, sales in constant dollars have been on the rise since October 2007, the report said.
March saw a 2.6 percent national drop in sales at clothing and accessories stores, while sales in the automotive sector were up 0.4 percent, the fifth increase in six months, StatsCan said.
Seven provinces reported sales gains in March, but sales were dragged down by a 3.1 percent drop in Quebec, which the agency suggested could be attributed to a particularly harsh winter. Heavy snowfall was also likely the cause for a fall in retail sales in three of the four Atlantic provinces, the report said.
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