April 9 - Wall St clocks in its biggest gains in over a month on changing Fed rate hike expectations; Comcast, Time Warner Cable try to win over lawmakers; Toyota issues second biggest recall; GM downgraded. Conway G. Gittens reports
The stock market takes off with the Federal Reserve not likely to soon step on the gas when it comes to hiking interest rates. Wall Street enjoyed its biggest rally in over a month led by a 1.7 percent surge for the Nasdaq. Minutes from the Fed's March meeting, giving investors the kind of clarity they like. Overall, the minutes suggest the group is not as ready to push the button on the first rate hike than first thought. Remember, markets were turned upside down by a post-meeting chat when Fed chief Janet Yellen said the first rate hike could come about six months after the end of the Fed's bond-buying program. Staying in Washington, executives from Comcast and Time Warner Cable, America's two largest cable companies - on Capitol Hill in just one of the hurdles they will have to clear on their way to their $45 billion merger. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen addressed critics who say Comcast will be too big and powerful, noting the growth of competition from others including the Baby Bells, aka telecom companies like Verizon. SOUNDBITE: DAVID COHEN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, COMCAST (ENGLISH) SAYING: "While this transaction will make us bigger, that's a good thing; not a problem. Most of our real competitors are national and global and larger than us, like the Bells, satellite companies, Apple, Google, Sony and Netflix. In fact, the business reason for this transaction is to create a scale that will enable Comcast to invest more in innovation and infrastructure and enhance our ability to compete more effectively." Comcast shares are down 10 percent since the proposed takeover was announced in February. Buckle your seatbelts it's happening again. Toyota issuing another massive recall. The Japanese auto company recalling almost 6-1/2 million vehicles worldwide. Its second biggest recall ranges from things under the hood all the way to the back seat and involves 27 models. Last month, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion penalty in the U.S. for holding back information on its biggest recall a few years ago. Sticking with recalls, General Motors - dinged by safety regulators - ordering the automaker to pay $7,000 a day for missing a deadline to provide more information on a recall of 2.6 million cars. By the way, the recall catching the attention of Morgan Stanley, who downgraded GM. Shares of GM, one of the rare losers Wednesday - down 2.6 percent. Oddly enough, European investors not scarred by recalls, indexes were up led by gains in the auto sector.