LOCAL BUSINESS

Fed president speaks out

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto said Monday the national economic recovery remains “frustratingly slow” and that additional bond purchases can boost growth if the risks are managed.

“Large-scale asset purchases can be effective” and they “justify more analysis,” Pianalto said in a speech in Newark. “It is conceivable that, at some point, policies designed to promote further declines in rates could interfere with financial stability.”

Pianalto’s concern about the risks from more bond buying contrasts with the views of Presidents Charles Evans of Chicago, San Francisco’s John Williams and Boston’s Eric Rosengren, who favor “open-ended” purchases of securities. Pianalto and Williams vote on the Federal Open Market Committee this year, while Evans and Rosengren do not.

TRUCKING

Navistar executive departs

Navistar International Corp. said its chairman and chief executive has stepped down and an interim replacement has been named. The heavy truck and engine company said that Daniel Ustian informed the board that he is immediately retiring as chairman, president and chief executive, as well as leaving the company’s board. He had been with the Lisle, Ill., company for 37 years.

Navistar named Lewis Campbell, the former chairman, president and chief executive of Textron Inc., as its executive chairman and interim CEO. Navistar has struggled this year amid uncertainty about whether its Class 8 engine, which is used in the largest commercial trucks, will get Environmental Protection Agency approval. Since the beginning of this year, its shares have tumbled 39 percent.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Canadians authorize strike

Workers with the Canadian Auto Workers union have voted overwhelmingly to strike if the union isn’t able to reach agreements with the three Detroit automakers.

The Canadian Auto Workers union said Chrysler workers have voted 99 percent in favor of a strike if necessary. Workers at General Motors have voted 98 percent in favor, while workers at Ford were 97 percent in favor.

Negotiations on a contact began this month amid charges that Canada is the most expensive place in the world to produce a vehicle.

The union says it made major concessions during the last round of talks and workers want to share in the profits now that the industry is profitable. The current contracts expire Sept. 17.

The last CAW strike was in 1996, against General Motors.

GM makes money moves

General Motors Co., which is said to be exploring as much as another $5 billion in short-term credit, is seeking to secure low borrowing costs as it pours billions in cash into new products and pension obligations.

GM declined to comment on whether it could seek $4 billion to $5 billion in additional revolving credit from some of its current lenders.

The move could lock in the ability to borrow at good rates and give it capacity similar to Ford, which has $9.3 billion in revolving credit. GM has “substantial cash requirements going forward,” including pension obligations and reinvesting in operations, according to an Aug. 3 regulatory filing.

“Old rule of thumb for a CFO: Get liquidity when you don’t need it,” Matthew Stover, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC in Boston, said in an email. “GM’s revolver [credit line] is a bit small for a company its size, money is cheap and who knows what the rest of the year holds,” such as a deepening financial crisis in Europe.

Borrowing costs for high-yield, high-risk companies are at the lowest level in more than 14 months.

INTERNET

New owner for About.com

The parent company of Ask.com says it has agreed to buy the About Group from the New York Times Co. for $300 million in cash. Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, which also operates the dating site Match.com, announced the deal late Sunday. About.com provides information about a wide variety of topics and operates?ConsumerSearch.com and Calorie-Count.com. Content is written by paid experts known as guides. IAC said the addition of About.com will help Ask.com’s offerings stand out and be more authoritative, while Ask.com’s search technology will help direct more users toward About.com and boost its profits.

The Times purchased About.com in 2005 for $410 million. About.com was harder to find in the past year because of a change in Google search results.

Compiled from staff and wire reports