Infrastructure Shares Jump on Obama’s Building Promises

Investors see light at the end of the tunnel as infrastructure-related shares surged Monday, leading a broad market advance that lifted key indexes to their best levels in a month after President-elect Barack Obama’s pledge to spend heavily on the nation’s infrastructure, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 298.76 points and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 33.63 points. The Associated Press reported that world markets were also slightly higher today.  In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 44.78 points, while Germany’s DAX was up 22.03 points and The CAC-40 in France rose 35.99 points. U.S. stocks were poised to open higher again today, too, as the day approaches for the Big Three automakers bailout to occur. Talks about the appointment of a federal car czar to oversee a government-run restructuring of U.S. auto companies in return for a $15 billion bailout of the beleaguered industry is in the works, according to the Associated Press. Negotiators reportedly worked through the night Monday narrowing differences on a bill to rush short-term loans to the struggling carmakers through a plan that requires that the industry reinvent itself to survive — and pay back the government if it doesn’t. The package could come to a vote as early as Wednesday. Meanwhile, airline industry losses in 2009 may shrink to half this year’s level as a decline in fuel costs more than makes up for a reduction in the number of people flying, Bloomberg reported. Carriers may still lose a total of $2.5 billion next year, compared with $5 billion in the current 12 months, but that is good news compared to predictions of a $4.1 billion loss for airlines in 2009 made as recently as Sept. 3, based on an average oil price of $110 a barrel, according to the report. The New York Times reported that Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony announced on Tuesday that it would eliminate 8,000 jobs and rein in planned investment as it reacts to the global economic slowdown. About 10 percent of the company’s 57 plants will be shut, including two overseas sites, and plans to expand a site in Slovakia where LCD televisions for the European market are assembled have been delayed, according to the Times.