Medium Trucks Are GM’s New Focus
Over the last decade, General Motors Co. (GM, +0.45%) abandoned producing medium duty work trucks in the U.S. Now, the auto giant is ready to re-enter this growing, as well as potentially lucrative, U.S. market. Teaming up with Isuzu Motors Ltd. in Japan, GM will procure work trucks which will then be sold under the Chevrolet brand in the U.S. Isuzu and GM have worked together for many years. Isuzu, which is the number one auto maker in terms of sales in the U.S., will then rely on GM to reclaim its market share by selling these medium trucks through its dealer network and its reputation. In 2015, the medium-duty market has grown 3.5 percent. According to the dealers, the N-series truck, which is built by Isuzu, will now be rebranded as Chevrolet. On Monday, this partnership will be unveiled and analysts are expecting this announcement to be well-received especially in a country where stronger economic conditions are evident. GM already works quite closely with other companies in order to share the costs of new product developments. For example, the auto giant also purchases Nissan Motor Co. work vans and rebrands them as Chevrolet for the U.S. While the partnership between GM and Isuzu is only a small step, it represents the company’s commitment to taking a bigger market share against rivals such as Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co. The hope is that some GM Chevrolet dealers will now get the opportunity to make additional money by selling, outfitting and servicing work trucks. GM stocks are currently trading at $35.71 a share.
In U.S. trading on Friday, U.S. stocks closed lower giving up previous gains. This decline came in response to sharp selloffs in the European equity markets as a result of concerns regarding the future of debt-ridden Greece in the eurozone. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 0.8%, or 140.53 points, to 17,898.84. For the week, the blue chip index gained 0.3 percent. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index (SPX) closed 0.7%, or 14.75 points, lower at 2,094.11. The benchmark index finished the week flat. Also, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) declined 0.6%, or 31.41 points, to 5,051.10. For the week, the tech heavy index lost 0.3 percent. Also on Friday, losses were evident in Europe and the Stoxx Europe 600 (SXXP, -0.92%) declined 0.9% while the Athens Composite index (GD, -5.92%) also dropped 5.9 percent.
In forex trading on Friday, the U.S. dollar (USD) traded higher. This came despite the release of data which showed that producer prices in the U.S. rose slightly more than expected in May. According to the Department of Labor, the PPI (producer price index) rose 0.5 percent in the previous month. This was above expectations for an increase of 0.4% after a decline of 0.4% in April. Also, year on year, producer prices declined in May by 1.1 percent which was in line with expectations. In May, the core producer prices, which exclude energy and food, rose by 0.1%. The EUR/USD traded at 1.1232, down 0.26% and this decline was prompted after the IMF (International Monetary Fund) left Greece after a breakdown in talks. Also, the GBP/USD traded at 1.5504, down 0.09% while the USD/JPY traded at 123.68, up 0.20%. Against the Canadian dollar, the greenback traded 0.18% higher at 1.2315 while the U.S. dollar index was at 95.23, up 0.28%.
On Monday, crude oil prices declined in early Asian trade with the future of Greece the main focus among investors. WTI crude oil for delivery in July traded at $60.20 a barrel, down 0.32%, on the NYMEX. Meanwhile, on Friday last week, Brent crude oil for July delivery traded at $63.87 a barrel, down 1.9 percent, on the ICE Futures exchange. For the week, the contract rose 0.88 percent. On Thursday, in its monthly report, the IEA (International Energy Agency) stated that they expect the demand for oil to increase faster than that had previously forecast for 2015. This increase would be as a result of economic growth and lower prices and would increase by 1.4 million barrels a day this year. This is 300,000 barrels a day more than the IEA had previously forecast.