Today in the Fortune 500: A frugal New Year’s for Morgan Stanley, Home Depot profits off American elbow grease and Disney teams up with Netflix.

December 9, 2010, 6:28 PM UTC
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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MORGAN STANLEY Executives at the financial firm can expect as much as 10%-25% less for some year-end bonuses, as part of Morgan Stanley’s (MS) efforts to control pay. Executives won’t know the extent of the bonus cuts until January. [Wall Street Journal]

FAKE RIB SANDWICH LEADS TO REAL (MODEST) SALES McDonald’s (MCD) sales rose this November, thanks to the reintroduction of its McRib sandwich and strong coffee sales, but not nearly as much as analysts had predicted. Markets where consumers may not have fallen for the phony rack include the Asia/Pacific region, Africa and the Middle East. [Wall Street Journal]

WE’RE JUST TRYING TO BETTER OURSELVES Americans are doing stuff again. Home Depot (HD) raised its earnings guidance based on great November sales numbers. Apparently, housing contracts, and thus home-improvement projects, are both making a slow comeback. [ABC]

NETFLIX BELIEVES IN MAGIC The company that transformed movie rentals sealed an estimated $200 million deal to stream popular television shows on both Walt Disney (DIS) and ABC channels. [Fast Company]

BOEING TO BOOST DEFENSE IN THE MIDDLE EAST The US plane maker is talking with the Qatari military about aiding its defense industry by supplying the country with transport aircraft vehicles and fighter planes. Boeing (BA) says that 9% of its defense revenue will come from the Middle East this year. [Wall Street Journal]

BACK IN THE MONEY General Electric’s (GE) financing arm has shed some assets and tightened its balance sheet. Now, executives predict it will earn the company over $3 billion this year. And that’s only the beginning, they say, of GE Capital’s rebound from the crisis. [Financial Times]

IT’S A LONG WAY TO CHINA FROM CALGARY Several Fortune 500 energy companies are popping up liquefied natural gas projects in Papua New Guinea and Australia to meet China’s growing demand for fuel. Now, Canadian exploration company Talisman (TLM) says it’s looking to throw down $200 million in Papua New Guinea because it wants to get in on the game with Exxon (XOM).