Ford to Halt Romania Production, RBS Slims Direct Line Stake, and 3 More Hot Stocks

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F): Ford will be halting its production in Romania for 13 days in October, as soft European demand forced the company to make the needed production adjustments. Ford already took a one-week break at the facility this month; the Romanian site produces the B-Max model and pushes through about 370 cars per day. Around 2,500 workers will receive 80 percent pay during stoppage.

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Royal Bank of Scotland Group (NYSE:RBS): RBS has managed to raise 630 million pounds (about $1 billion) by putting a 20 percent holding in Direct Line on the market, which puts the bank’s remaining position in the insurer at about 28.5 percent. The unwinding of its stake in Direct Line is a part of the terms of RBS’s 2008 bailout. It hopes to be fully rid of its holding in the company by the end of next year.

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JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM): A $920 million fine aside, the Securities and Exchange Commission is still pursuing civil charges against bank staff who are connected to the huge London Whale trading debacle. CEO Jamie Dimon isn’t expected to be probed; the SEC is looking more at employees who may have been responsible for alleged problems with internal controls and corporate governance.

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Nasdaq OMX Group (NASDAQ:NDAQ): Nasdaq is reportedly discussing the possibility of a breakup, which would see part of the company merge with either the London Stock Exchange or the Singapore Exchange. Additionally, Nasdaq OMX is moving ahead with plans for the succession of current CEO Robert Greifeld, even though he has no plans to leave at the moment and has the backing of the board.

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Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI): Darden reported earnings per share of 53 cents, missing by 17 cents, while revenue of  $2.16 billion also missed, by $0.04 billion, as same-restaurant sales fell 3.3 percent for its Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouse chains. Higher prices were unable to offset weak traffic patterns, and the company will set out to slash $50 million through job and spending cuts. Darden also announced that Chief Operating Officer Drew Madsen will retire at the end of the second quarter.

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