Top Headlines - part 74

Citigroup Profits Spike in Third Quarter

Citigroup Profits Spike in Third Quarter

FINANCE

  • Citigroup Q3 profits jump to $3.8 billion, exceed expectations
  • Bad loan losses drop 41% as consumers save, pay off debt
  • Citi Asia, Latin America report double-digit growth

Citigroup Inc. recorded a jump in third quarter profits of 74% to $3.8 billion, exceeding analyst predictions thanks to reduced losses on loans, overseas revenue growth and a $1.9 billion credit-valuation adjustment gain.

Third-quarter data marks seven consecutive quarters of income growth. A Bloomberg survey of 25 experts estimated an average earnings-per-share of 82 cents. When excluding the accounting benefit, earnings per share exceeded their predictions by 2 cents. Third quarter net income was $1.23 per share, up from $0.72 from the year-earlier period.

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RIM Hand Out Free Apps After BlackBerry Blip

RIM Hand Out Free Apps After BlackBerry Blip

BUSINESS

  • BlackBerry users offered over $100 of free apps
  • Bold Touch 9900 unveiled
  • Compensation expected to cost over $100 million

Research In Motion is offering free applications to millions of customers following global outages of BlackBerry services last week. The company told BlackBerry users they could download more than $100 worth of premium apps free of charge, in a move to compensate for the inconvenience.

The offer will be available until the end of 2011.

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Private Jet Market: Soaring or Sinking?

Private Jet Market: Soaring or Sinking?

BUSINESS

  • Private jet market hits turbulence but some predict it will soon soar again
  • Falling economy major reason for slumping skies
  • China demand among countries to drive future growth of 7% per year

The current business jet market has seen turbulence in the past three years but some observers say the market is taking off again.

Almost everyone agrees on the reasons for the cloudy skies: the economy. “Bad publicity has dovetailed with a general softening in the used aircraft market, which is trying to absorb an excess number of private planes,” wrote Roll Call. At a recent national Business Aviation Association meeting in Las Vegas, industry executives said the buoyant market took such a dive three years ago that prices fell up to 80%.

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Retailer Gap Inc. Closing Stores in North America, Heading Overseas

Retailer Gap Inc. Closing Stores in North America, Heading Overseas

BUSINESS

  • Gap Inc. to close almost 200 stores in North America
  • Plans underway to triple Gap stores in China to total 45 by 2014
  • Retailer to shake up business casual clothing

Gap Inc. plans to close almost 200 stores in North America by the end of 2013 due to increased competition from specialty retailers and a turbulent sales environment. The store closures will bring the total number of Gap stores in North America down to 700, a 34% drop from four years ago.

Art Peck, President of Gap North America said: “Over the next 26 months, we’ll look store by store at our specialty fleet and determine which stores meet the standards we’ve set for our brand. This is a continuation of our work since 2007.”

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US Government Charges BP, Transocean and Halliburton for Deepwater Horizon Incident

US Government Charges BP, Transocean and Halliburton for Deepwater Horizon Incident

BUSINESS

  • BP, Transocean and Halliburton face US charges for April 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill
  • Implication of Transocean and Halliburton potentially good news for BP
  • BP presses forward with projects in UK’s North Sea

The US government has formally charged BP, Transocean and Halliburton with safety and environmental violations for the Gulf of Mexican oil well explosion; the April 2010 disaster spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil and killed 11 oil industry workers.

These charges were the conclusion of a September 14 Deepwater Horizon accident investigation. The verdict confirmed a breach of 15 offshore regulations, according to the newly-formed Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Reinforcement.

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Carrefour Stocks Fall 6%, Hit 2-Month Low

Carrefour Stocks Fall 6%, Hit 2-Month Low

FINANCE

  • Carrefour has cut its profit forecast twice over three months
  • Full-year operating income is expected to plummet between 15% and 20%
  • Competitor Casino sees third-quarter sales climb 20%

Retailer Carrefour saw its stock drop almost 6%, the most in nearly two months, having cut its 2011 profit predictions twice over a three month period. The company expects its full-year operating income to fall between 15% and 20% in 2011.

Carrefour, the second-biggest retailer in the world topped only by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has forecast lower profit five times in 2011. The company is carrying out a plan to become more competitive, involving price adjustments and renovating some of its stores. One of its main competitors Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA has seen third-quarter sales rise more than 20%, due partly to growing Asian and Latin American markets.

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Qwikster Is Out As Netflix Reverses Plan To Split In Two

Qwikster Is Out As Netflix Reverses Plan To Split In Two

BUSINESS

  • Netflix CEO announces decision not to split company between Netflix and Qwikster
  • Decision satisfies angry customers
  • Company believes its future lies in online streaming, but competition is stiff

In a rare act for a corporation, Netflix listened to its angry customers and reversed its previous decision to split the company into two, which would have seen Netflix dealing with online video streaming and Qwikster taking over the DVD-by-mail business.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made the announcement via the company’s blog.

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Energy Access Imperative for World’s Poor Population

Energy Access Imperative for World’s Poor Population

WORLD

  • Access to energy for world’s poor will cost $48 billion per year
  • Green solutions could limit carbon emissions to 0.7%
  • 2012 “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All"

Access to electricity could bring about massive changes in education, health and economic prosperity for the world’s poorest nations, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA said in a new study that at a cost of $48 billion per year, energy-deprived countries could have access to electricity within 20 years, which would make a dramatic difference to billions of people living in substandard conditions.

Some 3 billion people worldwide, mostly women and children, are exposed to high levels of indoor air pollution because they do not have access to proper cooking facilities.

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Ofgem Profits Questioned, Reform Sought

Ofgem Profits Questioned, Reform Sought

FINANCE

  • Ofgem's $197 profit figure raises energy suppliers' eyebrows
  • Regulator clarifies tariff structure to promote competition
  • Ofgem proposes minimum 20% of supplier power be auctioned by 2013

Energy suppliers are criticizing British energy regulator Ofgem for inconsistent profit figures, following Ofgem claims that its profit margin for energy firms increased from £15 ($23) in June to £125 ($197) in October.

The profit margin showed losses from 2004 to 2009, and as wholesale prices continue to rise, Ofgem expects margins to decline to roughly £65 ($102) by November. It also predicts a drop in profit to roughly £90 ($142) per customer for 2012.

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ASML Forecast: Semiconductor Chip Sector Slowdown Expected Despite Solid Q3

ASML Forecast: Semiconductor Chip Sector Slowdown Expected Despite Solid Q3

FINANCE

  • ASML Q3 revenue of €1.46 billion higher than forecasts
  • New orders in Q3 fall to €514 million; expected to rise in Q4
  • Record sales of over €5 billion expected for 2011

Computer chip equipment maker ASML published better than expected third quarter results Wednesday, but maintained predictions of a decline in the semiconductor industry. The Dutch company posted revenue of €1.46 billion ($2 billion), surpassing analysts’ forecasts of around €1.39 billion. Its net profits for the quarter were at €335 million, also higher than predicted.

New orders fell to around €514 million, representing a significant decrease for the world’s number one maker of photolithography equipment, which lays down electronic circuits on silicon wafers to create computer chips.

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