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National and world business briefs

National and world business briefs for Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
Modified: September 23, 2013 at 11:26 pm •  Published: September 24, 2013

Business briefs

Lender cuts 1,000 jobs

Citigroup said it is slashing about 1,000 jobs in Nevada and Texas, citing decreased demand for home loans and mortgage refinancing. The lender said Monday about 760 of the jobs being eliminated are in Las Vegas, while another 100 are in Irving, Texas. The rest involve employees who work from home. Most of the employees being laid off will continue to work until Nov. 22, while some will stay on until March. Rising interest rates this summer have cut sharply into demand for mortgage refinancing, a big driver of bank profits in recent years. Citigroup Inc.'s consumer banking earnings slipped 1 percent in the second quarter. Wells Fargo recently said it was cutting more than 4,000 full-time mortgage-department jobs due to slackening demand.

Chrysler shares go public

Chrysler Group is reluctantly preparing for an initial public offering of some of its shares. The automaker is proceeding with the IPO after it failed to reach an agreement on the value of the stock with the retiree trust that owns it. Chrysler shares haven't been publicly traded since 1998, when the company merged with Daimler AG. The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker is now majority owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA. The shares that will be sold are owned by a United Auto Workers-run trust that pays the health care costs for around 130,000 blue-collar Chrysler retirees. The trust currently owns a 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler, and will get all of the proceeds from the sale if it goes forward.

GM debt gets higher rating

A key ratings agency has restored General Motors' debt to investment grade status, eight years after the company lost the rating as it spiraled toward bankruptcy protection. The upgrade came Monday morning, shortly after GM announced plans to buy back high-interest preferred stock from a union retiree health care trust fund for $3.2 billion. Moody's Investors Service raised GM's corporate debt from Ba1, which is junk status, to Baa3, the lowest investment grade rating. Two other ratings agencies, Fitch and Standard & Poor's, still have GM at junk status. The upgrade likely means GM will get lower interest rates when it borrows money in the future.

Airline cancels 12 flights

Allegiant Air is telling passengers that 12 flights are canceled while it continues to overhaul emergency slides on its MD-80 aircraft. Monday's cancellations are on six routes, including four into and out of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and one each involving flights in and out of Phoenix and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler said the Las Vegas-based airline is contacting affected passengers to tell them their flights will be made up Tuesday. Company officials didn't say how many aircraft were in use Monday or how many flights the airline was operating. Allegiant began overhauling slides on its 52 MD-80 aircraft last week after reviewing maintenance intervals following the emergency evacuation of a Sept. 16 Allegiant flight at McCarran.

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