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Business Briefing

November 17, 2009

GMAC chief De Molina is leaving

Auto and home lender GMAC Financial Services said Chief Executive Alvaro de Molina was stepping down.

Michael A. Carpenter, a member of GMAC's board of directors, has been named his successor.

De Molina's sudden resignation comes while the lender is in the midst of negotiating with the Treasury Department over additional taxpayer assistance. GMAC is instrumental to the operations of automakers General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group, but its finances have been haunted by bad loans it made in the housing boom.

THE ECONOMY

Retail sales rise 1.4% in October

Retail sales rose more than expected in October largely because of a big rebound in auto sales. But broader consumer spending remains under pressure, raising questions about the durability of the recovery.

The jump in sales followed a dismal September retail performance that was revised even lower by the government.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 1.4% last month. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a gain of 1%. Excluding auto sales, retail demand rose 0.2%.

EARNINGS

Lowe's sales and net income drop

Lowe's Cos. posted fiscal third-quarter profit that met analysts' estimates.

Net income fell to $344 million, or 23 cents a share, from $488 million, or 33 cents, a year earlier, the home-improvement retailer said. Excluding a write-down in the value of some stores and a tax benefit, earnings totaled 24 cents a share, in line with analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue declined 3% to $11.4 billion in the three months that ended Oct. 30.

-- times wire reports

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