Morning Business Memo

Dec 14, 2011 6:53am

The value of the euro is down to its lowest level against the dollar in nearly a year. The drop continues this  morning. And it comes as investors grow more gloomy about European leaders’ plans to limit the impact of the debt crisis – and impose budget discipline on member states. According to The Financial Times, “Franco-German hopes for a sweeping new treaty to bind the region’s economies more closely came under strain.”

Italy has had to pay euro-era record high borrowing rates to get investors to lend it euro 3 billion ($3.95 billion) over five years. Today’s auction from the Bank of Italy show the average yield was 6.47 percent. A new survey of money managers says most fear a breakup of the Eurozone and believe US government debt faces a further downgrade in the future.

Fresh doubts about the strength of the holiday shopping season emerged from a new survey by the finance firm Hamilton Place Strategies. Some 36 percent of consumers said they expect to spend less on holiday gifts, while only 22 percent plan to spend more than last year. Yesterday’s November retail sales report from the Commerce Department posted a smaller than expected gain. Until this week most surveys have suggested an increase in holiday spending this season.

The order by Southwest Airlines for more than 200 737′s is the largest in Boeing’s history. The new planes are more fuel efficient and should help Southwest with its biggest challenge: high fuel prices.

Chrysler was on the verge of collapse three years ago before being bailed out by taxpayers and bought by Fiat. Now Chrysler’s CEO says the automaker is on target to make $3 billion profit next year.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc

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