AIG, feds offer stock sale
Bailed-out global insurance company American International Group and the federal government are offering to sell a total of 300 million AIG shares to the public. The stock sale would be a big step by the government toward disentangling itself from the company. The government stepped in to rescue AIG from collapse with $182 billion in 2008 -- the biggest bailout of the financial crisis. AIG and the government didn't specify a price for the shares in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. But 300 million shares of AIG were worth about $8.89 billion at Tuesday's closing price of $29.62.
Macy's bouncing back, reports soaring earnings
Macy's is dominating its competition and bouncing back from the recession by doing many little things well: adding local flavor to its stores, snagging hit exclusives like Madonna's clothing line and keeping its own costs under control. All that contributed to soaring first-quarter earnings that crushed Wall Street forecasts, boosted its outlook and doubled the dividend it pays shareholders. Macy's stock price rose nearly 8 percent Wednesday. The department store's results are among the first in a pile of retail earnings reports over the next two weeks. They could put more pressure on competitors like Kohl's and J.C. Penney, both of which cater to shoppers on tighter budgets.
Low corn demand may slow food inflation
The fast rise in food prices could begin to taper off later this year. The government's latest crop report estimates that the domestic supply of corn, which was forecast to shrink, will grow in the months ahead. The Department of Agriculture report suggested the high price of corn is prompting ranchers and feed makers to use less and farmers to plant more. Analysts expect these trends to push corn prices lower. That could ultimately make everything from beef to cereal to soft drinks less expensive.
-- Associated Press
Toyota's quarterly profits plummet
Toyota's quarterly profit dropped more than 75 percent after the March earthquake and tsunami wiped out parts suppliers in northeastern Japan, severely disrupting car production. The maker of the popular Prius hybrid gave no forecast for the current fiscal year through March 2012, citing an uncertain outlook because production continues to be hampered by shortages of parts. Toyota is expected to lose its spot as the world's top-selling automaker to General Motors Co. this year because of the disasters. The automaker's president Akio Toyoda said he and others at Toyota are "gritting our teeth" to keep jobs in Japan. He promised to disclose earnings forecasts by mid-June. Toyota Motor Corp. reported Wednesday that January-March profit slid to 25.4 billion yen ($314 million) from 112.2 billion yen a year earlier. For the fiscal year ended March 2011, Toyota's earnings doubled, showing that the Japanese automaker had been on the way to recovery from its recall crisis when the magnitude-9 earthquake struck on March 11.
-- Associated Press