J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said Monday it will slash its quarterly dividend to 5 cents per share from 38 cents in a bid to preserve capital. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said the cut was a precautionary measure to ensure that the company has financial flexibility should economic conditions drastically worsen. The move will save the company about $5 billion per year. Dimon said he is not predicting, but is ready for: a recession lasting two years, a U.S. unemployment rate above 10 percent, and a 40 percent peak-to-trough decline in home prices. J.P. Morgan Chase said its first-quarter performance to-date is "solidly profitable," even after additions to its reserves.

Honeywell lowers sales projections for 2009

Honeywell International Inc., the world's largest maker of airplane-cockpit controls and a manufacturer of thermostats, said 2009 sales will be lower than previously expected because of slowing demand in China and India and "weakness" in commercial aerospace. It now targets sales of $33.3 billion to $35.1 billion, compared with its December outlook of $33.6 billion to $35.3 billion, according to slides presented at its annual investor conference today. The Morris Township, N.J.-based company reaffirmed its profit forecast of $3.20 to $3.55 a share.

News Corp. president will step down

Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp., will step down when his contract expires June 30, the company said Monday. The vacancy likely clears the eventual path to succession for Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch's son James, the 36-year-old executive in charge of News Corporation's businesses in Europe and Asia.