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Top Headlines - part 50

Tourism: How Much Will Airline Tickets Go Up This Year?

Tourism: How Much Will Airline Tickets Go Up This Year?

BUSINESS

  • Airfares predicted to rise in 2012, though how much remains unclear
  • Many airlines cutting back flights, reducing available seats
  • Price of oil most important factor in airfare cost fluxuation

Considering the current state of the economy, travel and tourism industry analysts say airfares will go up in 2012, though it is hard to pin point just how much they will rise. 

Looking at the past, airline prices are always going up. “After all, the airlines attempted to raise prices 22 times in 2011 (and nine of those attempts were successful),” says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare. “The one thing everyone wants to know is whether fares will keep going up. We have seen plenty of increases in 2011, but will that continue?"

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Pharma Buyout Bid: Roche Offers $5.7 Billion for Illumina

Pharma Buyout Bid: Roche Offers $5.7 Billion for Illumina

FINANCE

  • Roche puts forth another offer to buy Illumina at $44.30 per share
  • Offer 50 times greater than Illumina’s earnings between Sept. 2010 - Sept. 2011
  • Bid part of Roche’s plan to increase cancer drug sales

Swiss-owned pharmaceutical giant Roche has plans to take over San Diego-based Illumina Inc, which focuses on gene-sequencing. The announcement comes after Illumina rejected previous offers from Roche to negotiate a buyout.

Roche proposes to purchase all Illumina common stock at a price of $44.30 per share, which places Illumina’s value at $5.7 billion. According to Bloomberg, this is 32 times greater than the $1.39 per share predicted by analysts this year.

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Verizon Takes Profit Hit of $2 Billion While iPhone Sales Remain Strong

Verizon Takes Profit Hit of $2 Billion While iPhone Sales Remain Strong

BUSINESS

  • Verizon loses profit in fourth quarter due to higher pension, iPhone subsidy costs
  • Verizon profit margins set to rise as existing customers upgrade to new 4G LTE network
  • Apple reports fourth quarter earnings of over $46 billion

In a recent earnings report, Verizon Communications stated a loss of slightly over $2 billion in fourth quarter 2011. According to the cellular giant, the loss was primarily due to both one-time charges of $3.4 billion for severance, pension and benefits, and increased subsidy costs for iPhone sales.

However, Verizon's wireless division reported a revenue surge, with more than half of its smartphone sales being iPhones.

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Music Industry: Digital Download Sales Up 8%

Music Industry: Digital Download Sales Up 8%

BUSINESS

  • Digital music sales totaled $5.2 billion last year
  • Downloads account for 32% of global sales
  • Rise attributed to anti-piracy laws

Although it is mostly on the decline, there is a glimmer of hope for the music industry: according to a report released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) globally sales fell by about 3% in 2011, but digital download sales are up by 8%.

Globally, digital download sales totaled $5.2 billion and accounted for 32% of total music sales. In the US, downloads are 52% of total revenue.

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GM Reclaims Title As World’s Largest Automaker

GM Reclaims Title As World’s Largest Automaker

BUSINESS

  • GM sold over $9 million vehicles in 2011, up 8% increase from 2010
  • GM reports sales of over $8 billion for 2011 only 2 years after bankruptcy filing
  • GM R&D Labs working with Israel-based Future Labs on interactive rear window glass

Less than three years after filing for public bankruptcy, automobile giant General Motors (GM) has regained it's 2007 title as the world’s top selling automaker – taking it back from Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp.

Up nearly 8% from 2010, GM sold over 9 million vehicles in 2011, which is 1 million more than Toyota sold. Toyota seized the top selling title from GM in 2008; however, in light of recent natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, Toyota remains in a rebuilding stage as their sales fell an estimated 6% in 2011.

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Tourism in Egypt: What Happens After The Revolution?

Tourism in Egypt: What Happens After The Revolution?

BUSINESS

  • Visitors to Egypt dropped 24% in third quarter 2011 compared to 2010
  • Egypt sets strategies to show visitors it is a safe place to visit
  • Egypt’s Tourism Minister confident that 2012 can be a return to a tourism boom

The new-found freedom and democratic governments brought to millions of people in North Africa and the Middle East has cost a heavy price in another currency: visitors.

It is particularly the case in long-time, traditionally tourist-dependent Egypt. "Tourism in Egypt has historically been one of the top foreign income sources in the country, but as a result of the tensions and violence in 2011, visitors went elsewhere, leading to a backlash on the Egyptian economy, where some 20% of the country work in the tourism sector,” says Bikya Masr, a state-owned Egyptian newspaper.

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US Production Spikes, Creating American Jobs

US Production Spikes, Creating American Jobs

ECONOMY

  • Factory output grew 0.9% last month
  • World Bank reduces 2012 growth forecast to 2.5% from 3.6%
  • US factories hire 23,000 workers — best job growth since July

American factory output of vehicles, computers and construction material grew last month, resulting in a 0.9% increase in output, according to data released by the Federal Reserve.

Total industrial production, including mines, utilities and factories, grew 0.4% last month. Fourth quarter industrial output was up 3.1% annually for a tenth quarter of consecutive growth.

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Modest Business Travel Growth Indication Economy Is Inching Forward

Modest Business Travel Growth Indication Economy Is Inching Forward

BUSINESS

  • Egencia 2012 Global Corporate Travel Forecast says average airline ticket prices “slightly up” at 4% for North America and “slightly to moderately up” at 6% for Asia
  • Airfares in the US are now 10%-20% higher than they were two years ago
  • Predicted increase not huge but upswing seen as a sign economy making slow comeback

The 30th US President during the “Great Depression” would feel right at home with today’s pro-business lobby; Calvin Coolidge tried to cut back the federal government and was famous for saying “The chief business of the American people is business.” However, that does not explain why forecasters today still rely on business spending trends to predict overall economic outlooks in many areas of the economy. Particularly, travel.

But msnbc.com is among sites predicting that travelers and others who want to know where the economy is headed this new year should take notice of predicted airline prices and the projected cost of checking into a hotel.

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Novartis Diovan Drug Patent Loss Prompts Downsizing In US

Novartis Diovan Drug Patent Loss Prompts Downsizing In US

BUSINESS

  • Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis to cut US workforce by nearly 2000 in 2012
  • Charges from restructuring and discontinuation of unsafe experimental drugs equal around $1.2 billion
  • Novartis should save $450 million/year from layoffs beginning in 2013

Swiss-based pharmaceutical leader Novartis will reduce its US workforce in the second quarter 2012 in response to the expiration of the patent for Diovan, its top-selling hypertension drug, as well as the subpar results of other drugs still in development.

Novartis employs over 120,000 people globally, and according to Bloomberg data cuts will equal over 1.5% of its current workforce. The plan is to eliminate 1,630 sales positions, and another 330 medical sales management positions in the US.

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Pembina Purchases Provident Energy for $3.2 Billion in Stocks

Pembina Purchases Provident Energy for $3.2 Billion in Stocks

FINANCE

  • Pembina and Provident merger creates company worth $8 billion
  • Deal blends together Pembina’s gas processing with Provident’s extraction and storage
  • Companies combining now while production of oil sands and shale gas is increasing

Pembina Pipeline Corp will purchase Provident Energy Ltd. for CAD$3.2 billion in stock, creating a publicly traded infrastructure company worth $7.9 billion.

The merger will blend together the services each company offers: Pembina provides gas processing and energy transportation along a 7,500 kilometer network, while Provident offers logistics, fractionation, extraction, transportation and storage.

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