TODAY

– May 27, 2015

New GM boss Barra stands behind lossmaking Opel 


(AP) — New General Motors chief Mary Barra has stressed the company's support for its struggling Adam Opel AG subsidiary in Europe, saying Opel workers will get the job of building a new vehicle at the main plant in Germany.

Barra said it was "no accident" that Opel's headquarters in Ruesselsheim was the destination for her first foreign trip since becoming CEO on Jan. 15.

"I thought it was very important to reinforce in person my commitment and GM's commitment to Opel," she said during a brief appearance before journalists Monday. She called Opel "clearly a vital part of our company."

Barra reiterated the commitment made last year by her predecessor Dan Akerson to turn Opel around after years of losses.

She said Opel's Ruesselsheim assembly plant would be the site for a new vehicle that for competitive reasons she couldn't name. The plant, which produces the Insignia model, will lose production of the Astra compact when the current model is replaced. The company is closing another plant in Bochum at the end of this year.

General Motors Co., which has headquarters in Detroit, considered selling Opel to Magna International in 2009 but changed its mind. Akerson went to Germany last year and underlined the automaker's commitment to turning its European business around by rebuilding its brand image and launching new models.

GM now aims to return Opel to break-even by mid-decade, and is plowing 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) into the European business. Opel will roll out 23 new models and 13 new engines over the next several years.

Barra cited the company's success with recent models such as the tiny Adam city car and the Mokka small SUV as grounds for optimism. Opel's market share inched up to 6.8 percent in the European Union from 6.7 percent last year. Still, the division lost money, recording an operating loss of $200 million in the third quarter.

Europe's mass-market carmakers are struggling with weak demand in an economy that is recovering only slowly from a financial crisis. The economy is growing again but unemployment remains painfully high at 12.1 percent.

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Written on 05/27/2015, 2:13 pm by George Lurie
Two Fresno attorneys have filed a civil complaint on behalf of an African American man who claims his former employer, Mercedes Benz of Fresno (MBOF),...
Written on 05/27/2015, 1:21 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — The U.S. stock market is regaining some of the ground it lost the day before, when the market had its biggest slump in three weeks. Technology and health care stocks led the gains Wednesday. Microsoft, Apple and Intel had the biggest gains in the Dow Jones industrial average. The Dow climbed 121 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,162. The index slumped 190 points on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 19 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,123. The Nasdaq composite climbed 73 points, or 1.5 percent, to 5,106. It was a record high close for the Nasdaq. Oil prices fell. U.S. crude gave up 52 cents to close at $57.10 a barrel. Bond prices rose slightly, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.13 percent.
Written on 05/27/2015, 12:53 pm by Business Journal staff
Foreclosure rates in Fresno decreased for the month of March over the same period last year, according to newly released data from CoreLogic. The rate of Fresno area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.71 percent during March 2015, a decrease of 0.20 percentage points compared to March 2014. Foreclosure activity in Fresno was lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 1.39 percent for March 2015. Also in Fresno, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased in March, when 2.53 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 3.32 percent for the same period last year. Foreclosure rates in Kings County also decreased for the month of March over the same period last year. The rate of Hanford-Corcoran area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.97 percent for the month of March 2015, a decrease of 0.09 percentage points compared to March 2014. Kings County’s mortgage delinquency rate also decreased. According to CoreLogic data for March 2015, 3.24 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 3.88 percent for the same period last year. A similar trend was evident in Tulare County, where foreclosure rates among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.80 percent during March 2015, a decrease of 0.17 percentage points compared to March 2014. The mortgage delinquency rate also decreased in the Visalia-Porterville area in March, when 2.68 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 3.60 percent for the same period last year. And in Madera, foreclosure rates also declined during March over the same period last year. The CoreLogic data reveals that the rate of Madera area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans in March 2015 was 0.91 percent, a decrease of 0.14 percentage points compared to March 2014. Also in Madera, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased in March when 2.88 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 3.74 percent for the same period last year.
Written on 05/27/2015, 12:13 pm by TALI ARBEL, AP Business Writer
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Written on 05/27/2015, 12:08 pm by Associated Press
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Written on 05/27/2015, 10:30 am by Business Journal staff
Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment Center will only operate its water slides on weekends this summer in an effort to help conserve water during the drought.  The slides have traditionally been open every day of the summer season. The decision is estimated to save thousands of gallons of water.  “I am sure that everyone in our industry is aware of the drought conditions in California. We are stepping up and doing our part to conserve water and I hope others are doing so too,” said Greg Florer, owner of Blackbeard’s.  The slides opened for the first time this season over the Memorial Day holiday weekend and are expected to remain open each weekend throughout the rest of the summer.  Visitors will still be able to enjoy the park’s bumper boats and other non-water related attractions including laser tag, air-conditioned arcade, batting cages, miniature golf, ropes course and race cars. Blackbeard’s also recently unveiled its newest attraction, the Captain Nessy roller coaster.  The park plans to host a number of summer events including “Food Truck Tuesdays” to help boost attendance. 
Written on 05/27/2015, 10:12 am by The Associated Press
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Written on 05/27/2015, 9:46 am by DAVID SHARP, Associated Press
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Written on 05/27/2015, 9:43 am by Associated Press
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Written on 05/27/2015, 9:41 am by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer
 (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in 23 U.S. states in April as hiring rebounded nationwide from weak job gains the previous month. The Labor Department said Wednesday that 11 states reported a higher unemployment rate than in March, while 16 states saw no change. Forty states gained jobs, and 9 states posted job losses. The drag from lower oil prices that has triggered sharp cutbacks in oil drilling was evident in some states. Texas added just 1,200 jobs, far below its average monthly gain of 34,000 last year. Wyoming lost jobs, while North Dakota reported a small gain. Nationwide, employers added a healthy 223,000 jobs in April, lowering the unemployment rate to a seven-year low of 5.4 percent. That represented a reassuring bounce back after the economy generated just 85,000 jobs in March. Nebraska reported the lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent, followed by North Dakota at 3.1 percent. North Dakota had boasted the lowest rate for nearly every month since the Great Recession, but the figure has climbed from 2.7 percent a year earlier in part because of layoffs by oil drillers. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate at 7.1 percent, followed by West Virginia at 7 percent.

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Written on 05/27/2015, 9:43 am by Associated Press
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