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Hungry for Hillshire; Monthly auto sales; Seattle raises minimum wage to $15/hour

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Several automakers will release sales numbers throughout the day. The Chrysler Group, which is owned by Fiat SpA of Italy, said U.S. vehicle sales rose 17% in May. That’s its best performance since May 2007. Jeep had its best month ever, with sales rising 58%.

General Motors (GM) said its sales were up 13% in May from a year ago. That was the company's best month since August 2008. The company is also dealing with more revelations from a faulty ignition switch. According to a Reuters analysis of national crash data provided by local law enforcement agencies, the death toll linked to General Motors’ defective ignition switch recall could be at least 74. GM says the faulty switches are to blame for only 13 deaths. Reuters’ analysis looked at single-car collisions where front airbags didn’t deploy and the driver or front seat passenger was killed. They found that such accidents occurred at a higher rate in GM cars than its main competitors. However, it’s not clear how many of the deadly accidents identified by Reuters involved the faulty ignition switch, because crash reports do not include that data. GM recalled nearly 2.6 million vehicles with defective switches worldwide.

Among the other stocks we’re watching is Hillshire Brands (HSH) after Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) raised its offer for the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Sara Lee desserts to $55 a share. That tops Pilgrim's Pride's first offer last week of $45 a share and a subsequent offer from Tyson Foods (TSN) of $50 a share. Hillshire said it will talk with both companies about their offers.

And Seattle's city council voted yesterday to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. It will go into effect over the next several years, making it the highest minimum wage in a big city. That’s the subject of today’s poll. Do you think other cities will raise their minimum wage to $15/hour? Vote in our poll, or leave a comment below or on Twitter.

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