GM workers could get $3,000 in profit-sharing

A newspaper is reporting that hourly workers at General Motors Co. could get $3,000 or more in profit-sharing this year, their biggest checks ever.

The Detroit company, just a year and a half out of bankruptcy protection, made $4.2 billion in the first three quarters of this year and is expected to post a fourth-quarter profit in the coming weeks.

GM is scheduled to tell the United Auto Workers union next week how much each of its 45,000 hourly workers will get, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the plan that it did not identify.


VW’s German workers will get 3.2 percent pay raise

Volkswagen said Tuesday it has agreed to give 100,000 western German workers a 3.2 percent pay raise to avert strikes as the carmaker boosts production to match record demand.

The pay increase at Germany’s biggest automotive employer kicks in May 1, with workers receiving a one-time payment of 1 percent of their base annual salary for the first three months of the deal, VW said. The 16-month contract runs from Feb. 1 through May 31, 2012.


Demand for house hunting predicted to be strong

Homebuilder executives and economists predict a post-Super Bowl bounce in demand for residential construction as Americans turn their attention from football to another national pastime: house hunting.

The chief executive officers of six of the 10 largest U.S. homebuilders cited the potential of a sales comeback in the spring, traditionally their strongest season, during conference calls in the last four weeks. Housing forecasts from Fannie Mae and the Mortgage Bankers Association show the new-home market will begin a rebound that will last through at least 2012.

A revival in demand for new houses after record-low sales in 2010 may bolster an economy that’s 19 months into a recovery. Residential construction is a key factor in gross domestic product because it requires the manufacturing of home components.

Richard DeKaser, an economist at Boston-based Parthenon Group, said he expects the homebuilding industry will this year make its first positive contribution to GDP since 2005.


International tax evaders get jail-free chance to pay

International tax evaders who come clean will be able to avoid jail and pay reduced fines under a new voluntary disclosure program announced Tuesday by the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax cheats will have until Aug. 31 to settle up with the IRS or face an ongoing crackdown against Americans who hide assets overseas, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said.

“If we find you, you face harsher penalties and the possibility of jail time,” Shulman said.

Under the new program, tax evaders must pay back taxes, interest and delinquency penalties for the past eight years, if accounts have been held that long.


Exchanges in London and Toronto in talks to merge

TMX Group, the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, said Tuesday it is in advanced talks to merge with the London Stock Exchange in a deal that would create one of the world’s largest stock exchanges.

Both exchanges are heavily weighted with mining stocks.

TMX Group said the merged companies would be co-headquartered in London and Toronto and continue to be overseen by its existing regulatory authorities. A TMX Group spokeswoman said the companies are considering a deal that would be a merger of equals.

The TMX Group is valued at $3 billion, while the London group’s value is slightly higher.