Dow Continues to Slip, While Automakers See a Global Ranking Shake-Up

2013 was a great year for automakers across the globe, and there has been a shake-up in the top three rankings by sales.

Jan 31, 2014 at 3:00PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is trading 0.78% lower this afternoon after a week that filled investors with worries about emerging markets and the Federal Reserve continuing to wind down its bond purchasing. Consumer spending was up 0.4% month over month in December, which was 0.2% better than expected. While full-year spending was up 3.1% it was below the 4.1% level seen in 2012, according to Morningstar. With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines today.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) is trading nearly 1% lower despite news that the company is said to have secured Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to lead the IPO of its retail finance division, GE Capital. Investors should cheer this move, as the company has focused its efforts on business outside finance and returned to its industrial roots. General Electric's finance unit was responsible for huge losses during the financial meltdown in 2008.

The Financial Times reported that the IPO is likely to be filed within the next two months and that GE Capital would be valued at roughly $20 billion. However, don't expect that to be the amount that hits the market, as GE has said it intends to spin off about 20% of the business this year and will split the rest of the unit in other ways in 2015.

Honda Motor (NYSE:HMC) today reported its fiscal year third quarter, from October-December, and missed analysts' expectations for a 10th consecutive quarter. Honda's net income climbed to 160.7 billion yen, or $1.6 billion, and while missing analysts' expectations by 4.5%, according to Bloomberg estimates, its profit was double what it in the prior year. The company also lowered its full-year sales projections by 1%. 

One very positive takeaway from the report was that Honda's sales doubled for the quarter in China as tensions continue to ease from a territorial dispute between Japan and China. The Japanese automaker expects sales to rise 19% to more than 900,000 vehicles this year in China, where its plans to launch nine new or refreshed models in 2014 and 2015.

In other automotive news, Germany's Volkswagen overtook America's General Motors (NYSE:GM) to become the world's second-largest automaker, trailing only Japan's Toyota. Volkswagen announced it had sold 9.73 million vehicles last year, barely topping General Motors' 9.71 million total. Toyota's full-year figure checked in at 9.98 million, and it could be the first automaker to top 10 million in deliveries in a single year.  

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Daniel Miller owns shares of General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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