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BNET Daily Dispatch: Ford, Danone, ConocoPhillips, and the IMF

  • Ford recalled 527,000 SUVs today in response to reports of engine fires.  The recall affects the Escape sports utility vehicle in the model years 2001 to 2004.  A Ford representative said the engine fires were linked to a flaw in the anti-lock braking system.  There have been no reported accidents or injuries related to the engine fires, but the effects on Ford's sales and reputation have yet to be determined.
  • Danone Group today accused its Chinese partner, Wahaha, of violating terms of their joint venture agreement.  Danone owns a controlling stake in the joint business and gave Wahaha 30 days to stop parallel operations that compete directly with the venture.  Wahaha stated the contract terms were unfair, and both sides are seeking government support.
  • ConocoPhillips is the latest U.S. corporation urging Congress to legislate nationwide regulation on greenhouse gas emissions, and is the first oil major to do so.  ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive, Jim Mulva, today said the company will allocate "significantly more resources" to develop alternative and renewable sources of energy, and is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all its operations.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year from 2.9 percent to 2.2 percent, emphasizing the negative impact of a weaker housing market.  The announcement said, however, that a recession is not likely, and that quarterly growth rates should increase through the year.  The IMF predicts 2.3 percent growth this year for the European Union, marking the first time the E.U. outlook has surpassed the U.S.
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