Top Headlines - part 74
ECONOMY November 21, 2011 | 11:35 AM
- Unemployment claims lowest in 7 months; state unemployment benefits down to a 3-year low
- New building permits up 11% last month
- Home-builder sentiment index reaches 20
In the latest data to suggest an economic recovery, separate reports were posted that reveal a decline in unemployment claims and a spike in home construction permits: Unemployment claims dropped 5,000 to 388,000, while building permits for housing development soared to nearly 11% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 653,000.
As the US begins its economic recovery, the European debt crisis and rising gas prices remain two major obstacles to growth. Despite these promising figures, Europe's debt kept global stocks low.Read more »
BUSINESS November 21, 2011 | 9:37 AM
- 45 million people search TripAdvisor reviews monthly, making it world’s most influential travel review site
- TripAdvisor under attack for false and fake reviews
- TripAdvisor has initiated reforms but new companies offer alternatives for hoteliers and restaurants
An estimated 45 million consumers use the online travel review site TripAdvisor each month to help them choose hotels and restaurants. However, the site is now underfire with reports questioning the reliability of its giant rating system, which is easily the world’s largest.
Lawsuits are pending and alternative sites are popping due to "increasing pressure from hoteliers and restaurateurs, who claim that many of [TripAdvisors] anonymous reviews are either fake or defamatory,” writes the British-based newspaper The Telegraph. A recent television documentary summed it up as “Attack of the TripAdvisors.”Read more »
BUSINESS November 18, 2011 | 3:41 PM
- 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.Read more »
ECONOMY November 18, 2011 | 11:01 AM
- 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.Read more »
ECONOMY November 18, 2011 | 10:54 AM
- 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.Read more »
FINANCE November 18, 2011 | 10:47 AM
- 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.Read more »
BUSINESS November 17, 2011 | 11:24 AM
- 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.Read more »
WORLD November 17, 2011 | 10:20 AM
- 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.Read more »
FINANCE November 17, 2011 | 9:14 AM
- 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.Read more »
BUSINESS November 16, 2011 | 4:43 PM
- 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.Read more »