Shares of Ford and Toyota leaped on the news that their CEOs met in Tokyo last week, but the companies have hastened to downplay any suggestion that joint ventures were discussed. The conversation was about sharing green technology. Ford, which is having one of the worst years in its history, lags its competitors in terms of fuel-efficient offerings. Toyota, on the other hand, is a leader in the field of green auto technology, with its hybrid-electric Prius leading the U.S. government's annual top-10 fuel economy list for 2007 cars. The two companies already have a history of technological cooperation in environmental technology: in March 2004, Toyota licensed Ford several hybrid system and emissions purification patents.
• Sources: Boston.com, Houston Chronicle, International Herald Tribune
• Related commentary: Heads of Ford and Toyota Meet in Tokyo, Toyota Versus GM/Ford: Classic Hedged Pair Trade, Ford's Internal Projections: Toyota Will Be #2 Within Months, Toyota To Become World's Largest Automaker in '07
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Ford Motor Co. (F), Toyota Motor Corp. (TM). Competitors: General Motors (GM). ETFs: BLDRS Asia 50 ADR Index (ADRA), iShares NYSE Composite Index (NYC), Rydex S&P 500 Pure Value (RPV), Rydex S&P 500 Pure Value (RPV)
Seeking Alpha's news summaries are combined into a pre-market briefing called Wall Street Breakfast. Get Wall Street Breakfast by email -- it's free and takes only a few seconds to sign up.