Top Headlines - part 75
FINANCE October 27, 2011 | 10:34 AM
- Private Medicare Advantage plans make up 25% of Medicare plans
- Cigna currently has Medicare Advantage customer base of 45,000, ranks 5th in US among insurers
- HealthSpring per-member worth well above average at $3,200
Health insurance company Cigna Corp is to buy Tennessee-based healthcare plan outfit HealthSpring for $3.8 billion. HealthSpring runs a nationwide prescription drug plan and Medicare Advantage plans in several states including Washington, Texas, New Jersey and Florida.
The Medicare market is luring health insurers as an ageing US population enters retirement and is opting for private Medicare Advantage plans. These private plans make up around 25% of Medicare plan registrations at present, or 46 million beneficiaries, while 75% are accounted for by state-run plans.Read more »
BUSINESS October 26, 2011 | 5:49 PM
- Android global mobile app market share up to 44% in Q2 2011
- Apple iOS app share drops to 31%
- Android quarterly shipments up 36%, iOS down 9%
Google’s Android has overtaken Apple iOS in the global mobile applications market, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research. In the second quarter of 2011, the Android operating system became the number-one mobile apps player with 44% of the market, pushing iOS back into second spot with a 31% share.
Google’s mobile device platform has proven much more popular than ABI had predicted, with analysts back in 2009 forecasting a potential market share of 23% by 2014. The bulk of the growth seems to have come this year, with ABI research from August 2010 showing Apple was still dominating the market at 52% of app downloads going to iOS.Read more »
BUSINESS October 26, 2011 | 5:27 PM
- IATA reports sharp drop in premium air travel, raising concerns about rebounding market
- Not all sectors are down - tickets sold in Far East up 12.5%
- Airlines looking to revamp packages to halt trend
After rising sharply this summer, premium travel has fallen back to the fourth-quarter levels of last year, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reporting a drop for the month of August - the most recent month for available statistics.
IATA says economy-class travel also decreased but not as much as premium.Read more »
BUSINESS October 26, 2011 | 12:20 PM
- FedEx holiday deliveries to jump 12% to 260 million
- 17 million packages to be shipped on busiest day – 10% more than 2010
- 20,000 seasonal workers to be hired to deal with volume increase
- Company stock rises 2.7% to $81.52
FedEx is preparing for a massive jump in United States deliveries, with projections indicating it may be its busiest festive season on record. The world’s second-biggest parcel deliverer has projected demand between Thanksgiving and Christmas to rise as much as 12% to over 260 million packages.
On its busiest day, expected to be December 12, up to 17 million deliveries should be processed – 10% more than its peak in 2010.Read more »
ECONOMY October 26, 2011 | 11:44 AM
- Rising home prices a sign housing market is stabilizing
- Analysts warn prices may fall again
- Obama administration to make refinancing easier
The housing market in the United States may be stabilizing: a recent private survey reveals home prices are up in half of all major US cities.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index also showed an increase in 10 of the 20 cities it studied, marking a fifth-consecutive month of increases. The index compared prices with January 2000, and creates a three-month average.Read more »
ECONOMY October 25, 2011 | 5:09 PM
- Food prices up 4.5% and energy prices up by 12.5%
- Economists predict no immediate increase in bank interest rates
- Gas prices in constant flux
Canada’s inflation rate has reached new heights, now climbing over 3% in the last twelve months, with Statistics Canada reporting food price increases of almost 4.5% and energy prices up by 12.5%.
Without food and energy as part of the equation, inflation rates would have increased by slightly less than 2% over the twelve month-period prior to the end of September.Read more »
BUSINESS October 25, 2011 | 3:08 PM
- AT&T asks federal judge to throw out Sprint antitrust lawsuit
- Sprint says $39 billion T-Mobile takeover bad for competition
- Merger would make AT&T by far the biggest US wireless network
AT&T will appeal to a federal court in Washington to dismiss an antitrust case brought forward by Sprint Nextel to block its acquisition of T-Mobile USA. Sprint opened a lawsuit saying the proposed merger between AT&T, the second largest wireless carrier in the US, and T-Mobile, the fourth largest, would limit competition within the industry.
Sprint also said the acquisition would damage its own business prospects which, on the back of 15 straight quarterly losses, it can ill afford.Read more »
BUSINESS October 25, 2011 | 3:05 PM
- Shares up 23% after 50% jump in profits
- Full-year revenue forecast up to $1.77 billion
- Restructuring plan to include job cuts
Shares in TomTom rose 23% as the satellite navigation device manufacturer posted its biggest quarterly profit since June 2009, sending full year forecasts upwards. The Dutch company’s third-quarter net income beat projections by a huge margin, jumping 50% to $40.1 million when analysts had predicted a best-case scenario of around $22 million.
Revenue expectations for 2011 are now as high as $1.77 billion.Read more »
WORLD October 24, 2011 | 5:24 PM
- US Institute of Medicine says food should rate fat, sodium and sugar content
- Obesity rates have doubled in last 30 years
- Without Obama administration system, may not be executed
A new report from the US Institute of Medicine says that food products need better nutritional content labels that clearly show fat, sodium and sugar content to help consumers make better diet choices.
It suggests a new nutrition label system, which would be visible on the front of food packaging, that uses a series of points, check marks or stars on a scale of zero to three, based on serving size. If key elements (sodium, fat, sugar) are balanced, the food gets a point. A healthy product could get a maximum of three points, while some foods or beverages may get zero points.Read more »
WORLD October 24, 2011 | 4:49 PM
- Soyuz rockets take two Galileo satellites into orbit
- New GPS system to generate up to $124 million for European economies
- $6.2 billion in public funds already spent with a further $9.6 billion required
The European GPS program Galileo has successfully launched its first two satellites from the European Space Station in French Guiana. The global navigation system is scheduled to become operational in 2014 and will play a major part in generating as much as $124 million for European economies over the next 20 years.
The satellites were launched on Russian Soyuz rockets to an altitude of 23,000 kilometers, with another two set for launch in 2012.Read more »