Top Headlines - part 66

US Retail: Steady Rise In Sales, Holiday Spending To Increase

US Retail: Steady Rise In Sales, Holiday Spending To Increase

BUSINESS

  • Holiday shopping expected to increase 2.8%
  • US retail sales up 1.2% in October, biggest increase since March
  • E-commerce sales in the US increase 13% to $36 billion

Many retailers are clamoring to attract holiday shoppers through a variety of offers, including earlier Black Friday hours, better-than-usual sales and a variety of e-commerce shopping alternatives.

Additionally, with the economy still struggling, some retailers are reinstituting, promoting and/or expanding ever-popular layaway programs. Perhaps that is why forecasts from the National Retail Foundation for 2011 holiday shopping predict a 2.8% increase overall in sales this year.

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Oil Breaches $100 Per Barrel Mark In 4-Month High

Oil Breaches $100 Per Barrel Mark In 4-Month High

ECONOMY

  • Benchmark crude jumps over 25% since end September
  • Report of rising consumer spending for 5 months fuels oil prices
  • Political tension in oil producing countries spurs oil prices

The benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil price has breached the $100 per barrel mark, climbing to $100.79.

The price of benchmark crude has jumped more than 25% since the close of September on the back of economic improvement. The impetus on the Federal Reserve to spur economic growth is mounting in the face of slowing inflation.

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US Manufacturing Boosts Economy As Inflation Eases

US Manufacturing Boosts Economy As Inflation Eases

ECONOMY

  • Industrial output grows 0.7%, exports up to $180 billion
  • Labor Department shows 0.1% CPI drop, 3.5% decline in inflation
  • Corporate spending boosts economy with over 17% rise

New manufacturing and inflation figures suggest that the US economy is weathering Europe's financial and political problems better than expected: the Federal Reserve has recorded a 0.7% improvement in industrial output, the quickest growth in three months, while the Labor Department reported a 0.1% decline in the consumer-price index (CPI) as the cost of living dropped for the first time in four months.

Analysts told the Associated Press that exports to Europe account for one-fourth of all US corporate revenue, and that they expect the US economy to slow next year as the unstable Euro makes American goods more expensive abroad.

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US Retail: Wal-Mart Profit Slips, Sales Still Strong

US Retail: Wal-Mart Profit Slips, Sales Still Strong

FINANCE

  • Wal-Mart sees 2.9% drop in profit for third fiscal quarter, with net income of $3.3 billion
  • Wal-Mart sales up by $8.3 billion
  • Layaway makes comeback to encourage holiday spending

The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart saw its profits drop slightly in the third fiscal quarter, with net income of $3.3 billion, or 2.9% less than third quarter last year. However, net sales increased by $8.3 billion over 2010.

In the US, sales for Wal-Mart stores increased by 1.3% while Sam’s Club stores increased by 9%. Internationally, Wal-Mart sales increased over 20% with the highest rates of growth in Mexico and Argentina. International sales were also helped by acquisitions in Great Britain and South Africa, which totaled $2.1 billion.

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Universal Poised To Sing To Google’s Tune For Music Launch

Universal Poised To Sing To Google’s Tune For Music Launch

BUSINESS

  • Google set to partner with Universal on cloud music downloads
  • Warner and Sony’s absence from Google press event points to soured talks
  • Google researches space elevators and helper robots in its secret labs

As Google prepares to add song downloads to its cloud music service, the company looks on the verge of signing an agreement with the leading music company in the world, Universal Music Group.

The search engine giant plans to bring out an online music-download store, allowing customers to store copies of songs online that they could access from several devices. Google is also looking to secure music-sharing rights for members of its Google+ social network.

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Study: Stem Cell Therapy Success In Repairing Heart Attack Damage

Study: Stem Cell Therapy Success In Repairing Heart Attack  Damage

WORLD

  • Stem cell injection boosts heart function 12% in one year
  • World’s biggest stem cell medical center opens in Beijing
  • Stem cell company Geron axes 40% of its full-time positions

Cardiac damage following a heart attack can be combated with a patient’s own stem cells, stem cell researchers have discovered.

Heart failure manifests as fatigue and shortness of breath, and is caused by cardiac muscle damage, which reduces the heart’s function. While traditional treatments seek to ease symptoms, the recent stem cell research breakthrough goes further to repair the heart with an injection of 1 million stem cells from other parts of the patient’s own heart.

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Foreign Banks Offload Shares In China’s Banking Sector

Foreign Banks Offload Shares In China’s Banking Sector

FINANCE

  • Bank of America earns almost $10 billion in two CCB stake sales
  • IMF warns Chinese financial sector is vulnerable
  • Obama demands China afford equal opportunity to foreign business

Selling the majority of its shares in China Construction Bank (CCB) saw Bank of America turn a profit while signaling falling confidence in Chinese banks.

Bank of America earned close to $2 billion after-tax profit from its CCB stake sale. The deal follows the $8.3-billion sale of its stake in CCB in August. Goldman Sachs offloaded a $1 billion stake in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in November.

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Toyota Sales Take Another Hit With Recent Recall

Toyota Sales Take Another Hit With Recent Recall

BUSINESS

  • Toyota recalls 400,000 Toyota and Lexus V6 vehicles due to faulty power steering
  • Production in Japan to be back on track beginning November 21
  • Toyota drops to number three in race to be top automaker worldwide

In the wake of recent natural disasters dramatically affecting Toyota Motor Sales Inc.’s production, Toyota is hit with yet another setback: Toyota and Lexus have voluntarily recalled over 400,000 vehicles due to issues with the power steering mechanism.

According to Toyota, specific Toyota and Lexus vehicles with V6 engines may have a problem with the crankshaft pulley that could cause the power steering belt to dislodge, making steering difficult. Toyota will notify owners via mail starting January 2012 when it anticipates the parts should become available.

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Newly Appointed NSW Labor Leader Calls For Suspension On Coal Seam Gas Licenses

Newly Appointed NSW Labor Leader Calls For Suspension On Coal Seam Gas Licenses

WORLD

  • Robertson announces decision to halt the issuance of new CSG licenses as well as suspend current licenses
  • CSG emissions could impact water supply and environment
  • Australia Greens question decision to suspend CSG licenses

New South Wales Labor leader John Robertson has announced a new policy calling for the O’Farrell Government to suspend all current coal seam gas (CSG) licenses as well as the issuing of coal seam gas extraction licenses and applications to expand existing operations.

According to Robertson, he feels that the CSG industry “doesn’t have a proven track record when it comes to things like water aquifer contamination” and fears the impact it could have on water quality as well as the atmosphere as a whole.

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Japan: Economy rebounds as GDP climbs 1.5%

Japan: Economy rebounds as GDP climbs 1.5%

ECONOMY

  • Japan reports 6% annualized growth in July-September quarter
  • Exports up 6%, with economic output reaching $7 trillion
  • Private sector machinery orders fell more than 8% in September

Japan is showing good recovery following the quake that shook its economy, reporting 6% annualized growth in the July-September quarter, its first growth in four quarters.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami lead to a nuclear crisis in Japan, hitting industrial growth, especially in the automotive sector, which was hit by production shortages. The country’s economic recovery is likely to be slowed by a precarious wider economic climate and a strong yen.

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