Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories

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At The Motley Fool, we know our readers like to be informed. Here's a quick look at today's most relevant financial news, boiled down to what you need to know.

October auto sales defy the sluggish economy
Car sales were up last month for Detroit automakers, with Chrysler on top reporting a 27% sales increase. Trucks and SUVs fueled Chrysler's spike in growth, with sales of its Ram pickup truck climbing 21% for the month. Ford (NYS: F) reported its F-series truck sales rose 7%, while total sales were up 6% from a year prior. However, Ford's car sales declined 8%. General Motors (NYS: GM) saw the slowest sales gains of the Big Three, rising 2% overall. But sales of GM's Chevy Cruze compact car more than doubled last year's figures. Read the full story at The Washington Post.

Boeing CFO to retire in April
Aerospace giant Boeing (NYS: BA) will say goodbye to Chief Financial Officer James Bell, who announced plans to retire in April. Bell, who has been in the CFO role with Boeing since 2003, will be replaced by Boeing's corporate controller Greg Smith. Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.

FBI joins investigation of MF Global Holdings
One-time Goldman Sachs (NYS: GS) CEO Jon Corzine joined MF Global Holdings early last year, but in just that short time, he helped drive the company into bankruptcy. When MF Global filed for what is said to be the eighth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, it revealed a shortfall in segregated client funds that some estimates put at $700 million. The FBI has joined the investigation to examine MF Global's violation of requirements meant to keep clients' securities separate from the company's own accounts. Read the full story at Bloomberg.

Global markets tumble on uncertainty in Europe's bailout plan
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's call for a referendum on the newest bailout plan for Greece sparked panic across global financial markets on Tuesday. At yesterday's close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) ended down 297 points, a 2.5% decline. Greek lawmakers resisted Papandreou's plans to hold a referendum, putting his leadership in question.

The referendum, which increases the likelihood of a Greek default, threatens to cut off international funding to Greece if the people vote "no." A possible default puts other eurozone governments and the continent's entire financial system at risk of collapse. The U.S. government fears that a financial crash to this extent could damage global growth. Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.  

That's a wrap
So there you have it -- the top financial stories for this afternoon. If you are interested in getting all the news and commentary on these stocks, sign up to My Watchlist here -- it's free!

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Tamara Rutter does not own any of the stocks mentioned here. Follow her on Twitter @TamaraRutter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ford and General Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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