General Motors will lay off up to 75 employees at its Spring Hill plant due to slowing market demand. Duane Marsteller and The Tennessean have the story here. Word of the move comes less than a week after Volkswagen said it will cut 500 contract employees because of slackness in sedan sales.
Nissan has donated six of its Leaf electric cars to New York for a pilot taxi program. One big question the city and the Leaf drivers will look to answer: How do you accommodate an electric car's charging needs related to a taxicab's full day of work?
Cat Financial posted a first-quarter profit of $141 million, up 18 percent from last year, as its total asset base grew 14 percent to more than $35 billion. Before taxes, profits rose 10 percent from a year ago to $187 million. An improvement in asset quality — past dues ended March at about 2.5 percent, down from 3.2 percent a year ago — also helped lift earnings.
Analyst Paul Sankey at Deutsche Bank has slashed his price target for shares of Delek US Holdings and several other refining stocks, saying the industry's fundamentals are no longer as positive. Sankey now sees Delek — which has run from $15 to $34 in the past year — climbing to $38 instead of $48. In his note, he said counting on exports to pick up the slack from weaker demand is a risky move.
The state's liquor distilling laws look set to become a little looser after a Monday vote in the House of Representatives that followed some contentious debate focused in part on who was advocating for the changes. Representatives voted 57-31 to allow distilleries in counties that had been exempted by a 2009 law as well as benefit a Gatlinburg project in which local lobbyist David McMahan has invested. (That venture was denied a certificate by Gatlinburg city commissioners in February.) Andrea Zelinski has the full breakdown here.
The already-struggling shares of Noranda Aluminum Holding were being crushed Monday after a Citi analyst cut his rating and price target on the stock and investors took down most things related to commodities on fears that global growth is again slowing. Citi analyst Brian Yu lowered his opinion of Noranda to 'neutral' from 'buy' and now has a price target of $4.50, down from $7. At about 2:20 p.m., Noranda shares (Ticker: NOR) were off more than 8 percent to about $3.60.
On a related note, Delek US Holdings (Ticker: DK) were down 7 percent as investors also sold off oil refiners, many of which have run up big time so far this year.
Louisiana-Pacific shares also were giving up a significant ground Monday after a National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index showed that home builders' optimism fell this month to its lowest level since October. In addition to complaints about material costs and getting the loans they need to build, builders are now showing some concern about consumer demand, the report said. That stung LP (Ticker: LPX) to the tune of almost 9 percent on volume that will more than triple the stock's daily average.
Standard & Poor's has hiked its rating of Dollar General's debt to BBB- after the discount retailer overhauled its debt profile. Analyst Ana Lai said Dollar General is poised to maintain its lead among deep discounters even though its profit growth slows as it builds out its store network. (Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling also has said the top line and market share will trump margins for now.) Shares of Dollar General (Ticker: DG) are up 14 percent year to date.
The analysts at Cowen & Co. says Delek US Holdings remains an attractive long-term play on the rise of oil exploration in the central United States. They last week raised their price target for the Brentwood-based company to $42 from $30. Delek shares (Ticker: DK) closed Friday at $37.88 and are up almost 50 percent so far this year.