For Today’s Talking Topics I’m going to give bullet-points of a number of interesting events/concerns from the week just ending.

1 – Two years ago, the Saudis were furiously pumping oil in an effort to win a fight against the U.S. shale oil industry. But that effort backfired – instead of killing shale, it spurred a wave of innovation that transformed U.S. oil drilling into a highly-efficient operation.

2 – Fiat Chrysler presented a 5-year plan that embraces the two biggest trends of the industry – meeting high demand for SUVs and trucks and investing in future technologies such as electric and self-driving cars.

3 – GM is returning to its lending business.  The company gave up its GMAC during the past decade, but now has a budding new finance structure, GM Financial, which is showing itself to be a good profit driver.  The company is counting on it.

4 – In recent months, there has been a dramatic exit of CEOs in the food industry – those leaving include, CEOs of Campbell Soup, General Mills, Mondelez International, Kellogg, Nestle USA, Hershey, J.M. Smucker and Hostess.  The magnitude of the number leaving is unprecedented – these are CEOs who have contended with a new era of American eating and grocery-shopping habits, included those initiated by Millennials and the internet.

5 – GE is going to merge its railroad business with Wabtec.  The transaction is the first major portfolio move in the new tenure of CEO John Flannery, whose intent is to revamp the struggling industrial conglomerate.


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