Business

Business Digest

Manufacturing

Whirlpool Corp., the world's largest appliance maker, announced more job cuts Tuesday, saying it will have eliminated 5,000 positions by the end of next year.

The company also said 2008 profit would be lower than it expected after quarterly sales advanced at the slowest pace in a year. The global financial crisis, declining home values, rising unemployment and lower consumer confidence will keep appliance sales from rebounding anytime soon, CEO Jeff Fettig said.

The company's statement didn't say if any of the 5,000 jobs had already been cut. It said that since January, about 2,000 jobs had been eliminated through the closure of plants in Tennessee, Mississippi and Mexico.

Third-quarter net income fell 6.9 percent to $163 million, or $2.15 a share, as raw-material costs rose, Whirlpool said. Sales advanced 1.3 percent, the slowest pace since the third quarter of last year, as sales in North America, Whirlpool's biggest market, declined 7 percent. The company, maker of Maytag and KitchenAid appliances, said profit in 2008, excluding some items, would be $5.75 to $6 a share, rather than its previous forecast of $7 to $7.50. Bloomberg News

Oil

Record crude prices this summer are translating into huge profits, as BP and Occidental Petroleum showed Tuesday, but some energy companies are bracing for tougher times, keeping a closer tab on cash and cutting spending.

Oil producers are coming off a quarter during which crude prices reached an all-time high of $147.27. But prices have since tumbled more than 50 percent, and the global economic malaise has raised questions about energy demand at least into 2009.

Despite a 71 percent jump in third-quarter profit, Occidental Petroleum said Tuesday that it likely would not increase capital spending next year from its current $4.7 billion level. Refiner Valero Energy Corp., which also reported July-September results Tuesday, said it was scaling back spending by 33 percent this year. Associated Press

Finance

Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group are among dozens of financial firms nearing a settlement of more than 300 lawsuits accusing them of rigging initial public offerings during the boom in technology stocks a decade ago.

The settlement is likely to be for less than $700 million, according to two people familiar with ongoing talks. That's less than a quarter of what a plaintiffs' attorney said the banks proposed at one point and a fraction of the $12.5 billion originally sought by investor lawyers after the collapse of the bubble in technology stocks. Bloomberg News

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