GM to Update Analysts at Meeting on Tuesday

From Reuters

General Motors Corp. is seeking to lower expectations for news at a meeting this week that is intended to update Wall Street analysts on its financial and business outlook.

The meeting is set for Tuesday at GM’s headquarters in Detroit. The agenda calls for a morning session focusing on product development and the company’s redesigned cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles, followed by an afternoon briefing on financial issues at GM, which lost $2.5 billion in its North American auto business in the first half of the year.

Thomas J. Kowaleski, chief spokesman for the world’s largest automaker, said analysts should not expect any profit forecasts from GM, which stopped issuing them after posting a first-quarter $1.1-billion loss.

He also said that anyone following GM on a day-to-day basis was unlikely to hear anything new at the meeting. Kowaleski spoke to reporters Saturday at a fundraising event at the home of GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz.


At the same event Gary Cowger, a former head of GM’s North American operations who is in charge of negotiations with the United Auto Workers union, said he was unable to comment on when the talks might end.

GM, which expects its healthcare costs to total nearly $6 billion this year, has been meeting with the UAW since April to try to slash the cost of medical benefits for union members. GM blames the size of that expense for hurting its ability to compete with Asian rivals.

The UAW, which has questioned the severity of GM’s financial problems, said last month that it had hired outside advisors led by New York-based investment bank Lazard Ltd. to examine the company’s finances.

At a meeting with reporters Friday, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said the review of GM’s finances was still underway.


Cowger said in March that GM wanted its UAW workers to accept the same healthcare benefit cuts already taken by its white-collar workers. But Gettelfinger and other UAW officials have rejected making such a concession out of hand.

GM’s salaried workers pay about 27% of their healthcare bill while hourly workers pay about 7%, according to company data.

From Reuters



The Week Ahead


* The Commerce Department reports factory orders for July.

* The Conference Board releases its consumer confidence index for August.



* The Commerce Department reports the country’s second-quarter gross domestic product, as well as personal income and spending for July.


* The Commerce Department reports on construction spending for July.


* Automakers announce sales results for August.


* The Labor Department issues its employment report for August.