Wall Street Brief: Alcoa’s Losses Soften, Toyota Issues Massive Recall

Toyota (NYSE:TM) is recalling worldwide 7.43 million cars from a potential fire risk in its power window switches; they could potentially melt if lubricants are misapplied. This affects 2.47 million cars sold in the U.S. and encompasses Toyota’s Camry, Corolla and RAV4 SUV models. This is the largest auto recall since 1996 with the 8 million Ford (NYSE:F) vehicles.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) reported a $143 million net loss in the third quarter, down from a $172 million profit from the previous year. This comes from $175 million charges from a legal settlement with a Bahraini smelter over bribery allegations and other special items. Alcoa’s adjusted $0.03 earnings per share fell from $0.15 a in the previous year but exceeded forecasts. Its $5.83 billion revenue fell 9 percent but also exceeded estimates. Alcoa slashed its 2012 global aluminum demand forecast to 6 percent from 7 percent.

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Yum Brands’s (NYSE:YUM) third quarter net profit jumped 23 percent to $471 million thanks to continuous improvements at its U.S. Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC chains while China’s growth was affected by the economy. Adjusted earnings per share of $0.99 exceeded estimates while revenue increased 9 percent to $3.57 billion, missing forecasts. Yum raised its guidance for fiscal year earnings per share growth to 13 percent from the previous 12 percent estimate.

The EU may issue a “statement of objections” to UPS’s (NYSE:UPS) proposed EUR 5.2 billion acquisition of TNT Express by next week unless the U.S. company gives concessions that would temper antitrust worries, reported the Financial Times. The EU is concerned the deal will result in three “global integrators” that could offer a broad range of delivery services by ground and air.

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) is trying to raise its profitability by $1.7 billion over the next three years via cost cuts at its U.S. Express air operation. The measures include modernizing the company’s aircraft fleet and a voluntary buyout plan for some employees. Details will come on Wednesday at second day of the company’s annual meeting.

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