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Updated: 1 year 8 months ago

Apple Inks Deal With World’s Largest Mobile Carrier

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 9:19pm
At long last, the world’s largest mobile carrier by users, China Mobile, will start offering iPhones on its network after the company signed a deal with Apple. The U.S. tech behemoth has been reluctant to use the Chinese carrier’s relatively unreliable 3G network, but as China Mobile goes 4G on Dec. 18, the iPhone is expected to be an integral part, the Wall Street Journal reports. Gaining access to China Mobile’s 700 million subscribers could add almost 20 million additional iPhone activations in 2014, says research firm Trefis, representing a 17% increase from Apple’s handset sales in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 28. Experiencing slowing revenue growth in the U.S., there is a major opportunity for Apple in China, a market where it has so far struggled amid competition from lower-cost rivals. [WSJ]
Categories: Financial News

Meet the New Richest Person in China

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:18pm
The founder of China’s largest search engine, Baidu, became the richest person in China Wednesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Robin Li, who took the number two spot two weeks ago as Baidu shares rallied, was worth $12.231 billion Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. That’s enough to beat out Wang Jianlin, who founded China’s largest commercial property developer and movie theater operator, by $64 million. [Bloomberg]
Categories: Financial News

Stocks Fall Amid Budget Talks

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:11pm
Stocks in the United States dropped for the fourth straight day Wednesday, as investors looked for clues about a possible looming policy change in the Federal Reserve and hoped for a budget deal on Capitol Hill. The S&P 500 fell 0.1 percent to 1,792.81. The four-day slump is the longest run of declines for the S&P 500 in 10 weeks in what has otherwise been a banner year that has seen it climb 26 percent, Bloomberg reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 24.85 points, 0.2 percent, to 15,889.99. [Bloomberg]
Categories: Financial News

Jamaica Scientist Launches Medical Marijuana Firm

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:22pm
(KINGSTON, Jamaica) — A prominent Jamaican scientist and entrepreneur is launching a company that aims to capitalize on the growing international market for medical marijuana. Henry Lowe is a researcher who specializes in medicinal chemistry and the chairman of an institute that develops therapeutic and cosmetic products from various plants. Lowe is calling his new venture “Medicanja.” He says it will focus on medicinal compounds in marijuana, known locally as “ganja,” and will not violate any laws or treaties. Marijuana has been pervasive but prohibited on the Caribbean island since 1913. But increasingly vocal advocates say Jamaica could give its chronically struggling economy a big boost by embracing cannabis-related investing and loosening up drug laws. Lowe asserted Wednesday that Jamaica has potential to become a powerhouse in medical marijuana and health tourism.
Categories: Financial News

TIME Exclusive: Icahn Files Apple Shareholder Proposal

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 1:58pm
Subscribe to TIME here. Veteran investor Carl Icahn is opening a new front in his quest to persuade Apple to part with more of its massive cash stockpile. Icahn believes the technology giant should share more of its wealth with stockholders. So to push Apple, he now wants stockholders to vote on whether the company should spend more of its billions to buy back its own shares on the public market. A buyback would almost certainly drive up the price of Apple’s stock—and increase the value of Icahn’s holdings along with those of all Apple investors. Icahn tells TIME he filed a shareholder proposal with Apple on Nov. 26, three days before the deadline for measures to be voted on at the company’s next annual shareholders meeting. His measure calls for a share buyback and is in the form of a precatory proposal, which means that even if a majority of Apple shareholders approved, it would not be binding on the company’s management. That’s the typical approach for shareholder resolutions, even those coming from investors who are at odds with management. For his part, Icahn says he doesn’t consider his proposal an indictment of Apple CEO Tim Cook, or the company’s management, per se. “Tim Cook is doing a good job with the business,” Icahn tells TIME. “I think he’s good whether he does what I want or not.” But, says Icahn, referring to the company’s huge cash stockpile, “Apple is not a bank.” Photograph by Platon for TIME Icahn has the option of withdrawing his proposal if he and Apple can come to terms. If not, the situation could turn into a proxy fight against Apple, even if it is not a particularly hostile or aggressive one. The two sides would vie to persuade stockholders to vote their way. (The term proxy fight refers to the fact that shares from stockholders who cannot attend the annual meeting in person can be voted by proxy. In practice, waging a proxy fight means persuading big institutional investors to support a measure.) Apple
Categories: Financial News

IKEA in Spain Swamped by Job Demands

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:16am
(MADRID) — An IKEA store in Spain says it has received 20,000 applications for just 400 jobs, an unprecedented rush that crashed its computer servers and illustrated the desperation the country’s 6 million unemployed people face. Company spokesman Rodrigo Sanchez said Wednesday the online applications received since Monday were for jobs as store workers in a shop to be opened next year outside the eastern city of Valencia. He said the most applications the company had received before in Spain were 50,000 in southern Jerez, but that was over a period of a month. Official figures show Spain may be beginning to emerge from a more than two-year recession but the government admits it will take years to bring down the 26 percent unemployment rate.
Categories: Financial News

Survey: U.S. Companies Add 215K Jobs, Most in Year

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:15am
(WASHINGTON) — A private survey shows U.S. businesses last month added the most jobs in a year, powered by big gains in manufacturing and construction. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies and small businesses added 215,000 jobs in November. And ADP said private employers added 184,000 jobs in October, much stronger than its initial estimate of 130,000. The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government’s more comprehensive report. Last month, the Labor Department said private businesses added 212,000 jobs in October. The Labor Department will report on November job growth Friday. Still, the figure suggests that hiring remained healthy in November after picking up in the prior three months. Manufacturing and construction firms each added 18,000 jobs. That was the biggest gain for manufacturers since early this year. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the figures show that employers shook off the partial government shutdown in October and kept hiring, despite a drop in consumer confidence. Moody’s helps compile the ADP data. “That’s very encouraging as we make our way into next year,” Zandi said. Other economists also said the hiring boost was a good sign, but noted that the ADP figures are not always a reliable guide to the government’s figure. “Take this with a grain of salt, but if the direction is right, it is good news,” said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets. Many analysts noted that if Friday’s government report is as encouraging as the ADP figures, the Federal Reserve might be more inclined to reduce its monthly bond purchases when members meet later this month on Dec. 18 and 19. The Fed has been buying $85 billion in bonds each month to try to lower long-term interest rates and encourage more borrowing and spending. Employers of all sizes added jobs, the report found. And services firms added 176,000 jobs, the most in a year. The government says public and private employers have added an average of 202,000 jobs a month from August through October. That
Categories: Financial News

U.S. Trade Deficit Drops to $40.6 Billion in October

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:58am
(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in October, helped by America’s energy boom that lifted overall exports to an all-time high. The trade gap narrowed to $40.6 billion in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That’s 5.4 percent lower than the September gap of $43 billion, which was higher than initially estimated. Exports rose 1.8 percent to a record $192.7 billion, buoyed by a 6 percent gain in petroleum exports. Imports rose 0.4 percent to $233.3 billion, the highest since March 2012. Oil imports rose 1.5 percent. The U.S. is benefiting from an energy revival, which has lessened its dependence on foreign oil. U.S. petroleum exports are up 9.3 percent in the first 10 months of this year compared with the same period in 2012. At the same time, petroleum imports are down 11.1 percent. The drop in oil imports has been helped by lower global prices. A smaller trade deficit can boost economic growth. It typically shows that American companies are earning more from sales overseas while U.S. consumers are buying fewer products from their foreign competitors. Through October, the deficit is running 10.6 percent below last year’s pace. The deficit is smaller because exports have risen 2.7 percent while imports are basically running at the same pace as last year. The overall economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the July-September quarter. That figure will be revised on Thursday and many analysts believe growth will be boosted to a 3.1 percent rate. However, much of the third-quarter strength came from a buildup in business stockpiles. Businesses are expected to have slowed inventory building in the final three months of the year. For that reason, many economists believe overall economic growth has decelerated to a 2 percent annual rate. But some economists said the smaller trade deficit in October could mean overall economic growth will be a bit stronger than expected. Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said growth in the October-December quarter could be a little higher than 2 percent, based on
Categories: Financial News

Philip Morris Buying Stake in Megapolis for $750M

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:48am
(NEW YORK) — Philip Morris is buying a 20 percent stake in Megapolis Distribution BV, the holding company for its Russian cigarette distributor, for $750 million. Megapolis focuses mostly on the distribution of tobacco and beverages. It handles about 70 percent of the cigarettes sold in Russia through distribution agreements with Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Group. The agreement also includes an additional payment of up to $100 million based on Megapolis’ operational performance over the four fiscal years after the deal’s closing. “This investment paves the way for infrastructure expansion and improved operating efficiencies in the strategic area of distribution in Russia, and will therefore benefit our wide portfolio of leading brands,” Miroslaw Zielinski, Philip Morris’ president of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa region and PMI Duty Free, said in a statement. Philip Morris International Inc., which sells Marlboro and other cigarette brands overseas, said Wednesday that it expects the transaction to add to its earnings per share as of 2014′s first quarter. The deal is targeted to close by year’s end. Philip Morris International shares finished at $85.76 per share on Tuesday. Its shares are up 2 percent so far this year.
Categories: Financial News

If You Hate People, Today Is the Best Day to Go Holiday Shopping

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:20am
It’s safe to hit the mall. According to a firm that tracks foot traffic at shopping centers, Wednesday, December 4, is the best day of the season for holiday shoppers that want good deals—and want to avoid big crowds. According to a Consumer Reports poll, the most popular reason consumers decided against shopping in brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday weekend was the obvious one: the desire to avoid crowds. Of those who said they wouldn’t go shopping last weekend, 70% said they would be staying home in order to skip the mayhem caused by the masses descending on the malls. (MORE: This Is What Ford’s All-New 2015 Mustang Really Looks Like) If you were among this sensible bunch, take note that the coast appears to be clear. ShopperTrak, a firm that tracks shopper traffic, has predicted that Wednesday, December 4, will be the absolute best day of the season for those eager to avoid crowds. Don’t fret if shopping today isn’t possible. ShopperTrak data indicates that there are several other days coming up that should also be fairly quiet at the mall. Like next Wednesday, for instance, and several other weekdays going forward. Essentially, ShopperTrak analysts give the obvious advice that it’s wise to stay away from shopping centers on weekends. “Historically, the majority of shoppers flock to malls on the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” a press release explains. “The weekdays will see stores with fewer crowds and more attentive sales staff offering shoppers an opportunity to complete some of their holiday shopping without competing with the crowds.” (MORE: Why the Next Three Weeks Will Be a Bargain Shopper’s Dream) In addition to December 4, most weekdays next week (Tuesday and Wednesday especially) are good options for people-hating shoppers. Nearly all weekdays for the December 9 to 13 week make it into ShopperTrak’s top 10 for that magic combination of small crowds and good discounts this season.
Categories: Financial News

PayPal Launches Digital Gift Store With Only One Client: Apple

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:07am
Payments giant PayPal is hoping to coax holiday shoppers’ gift card spending out of brick and mortar stores and into its digital wallet instead. Here’s the catch: only if it’s an Apple iTunes gift card. The eBay-owned company rolled out a digital gift store exclusively with Apple on Tuesday, allowing PayPal customers to purchase iTunes gift cards ranging from $25 to $100 by linking directly to users’ PayPal accounts. The launch comes just one week after PayPal announced it would accept prepaid gift cards—including Visa, American Express, MasterCard or Discover—and a month after it shared its app had gift card capabilities. The strategy is intended to help PayPal boost payments by tapping into the rising mobile market. The race to develop a widely-used digital wallet has goaded companies into trying to process the most consumer transactions possible, says Matt Davies, director of the Gift Card Network and head of a gift card consulting firm. The goal is to create a secure app where customers can manage gift cards, check balances and send others digital gifts, according to Patrick Gauthier, PayPal‘s head of emerging retail services. But with Apple as sole client, what makes it different than simply purchasing from the iTunes store? Gauthier tells TIME the platform is adding more merchants—including physical retailers—in early 2014. The initial partnership with iTunes seemed “natural,” due to Apple’s major presence in the digital market with music, movies and apps. ”If you going to pick one you’re going to pick one that has the farthest reach,” says Dan Schatt, formerly general manager of financial innovations at PayPal and an industry expert. (MORE: This Is What Ford’s All-New 2015 Mustang Really Looks Like) PayPal also wants to help retailers lure shoppers through targeted advertising. One way that might work:  reminding users they have unused cards or if they have a remaining balance, Gauthier says. ”There’s a huge market for gift cards and PayPal couldn’t ignore it anymore,” says Adil Moussa, a payment industry expert. In fact, 80% of holiday shoppers will purchase gift cards this season, reaching an estimated $29.8 billion in spending, according
Categories: Financial News

Europe Fines Banks $2.3 Billion for Fixing Rates

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 9:45am
The European Union has fined eight banks, including behemoths like Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, a total of 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) for their part in an interest rate rigging scandal that rocked the financial world last year. The LIBOR, which stands for the London Interbank Offered Rate, refers to a set of interest rates banks that pay each other to borrow money for very short periods of time. It is a so-called “benchmark” rate from which trillions of dollars in common financial instruments like high yield debt or students loans are priced, and banker are accused of manipulating the rate for years. The penalty announced Wednesday in Europe is just the latest in a series of regulatory actions which have now cost big banks more than $5 trillion in penalties. The infractions took place between 2005 and 2008, according to European authorities, though some lawsuits currently in litigation allege that LIBOR rigging continued as late as 2011. Banks are accused of intentionally submitting lower interest rates than they actually were paying in order to appear more financial sound during the crisis, and fixing rates up and down in order to profit from derivatives trades through advanced knowledge of where the LIBOR rate would land. The investment bank Keefe Buyette and Woods estimates that when private litigation is included, the scandal could cost banks as much as $35 billion. That’s a large chunk of change, but banks this big can afford to pay. As Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism has argued, the most important thing for regulators to do is severely punish the individual traders responsible for the misconduct. She estimates that the misdeeds could have netted “an average of $2.9 to $3.6 million in extra bonuses” for each individual responsible. With that kind of financial incentive to skirt the rules, only severe criminal penalties will dissuade future misconduct. That next shoe may be dropping soon: Reuters reported last week that criminal charges in the U.S. and Europe are imminent. [FT]
Categories: Financial News

This Is What Ford’s All-New 2015 Mustang Really Looks Like

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 9:16am
Fifty years after Ford first unveiled the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair, the American automaker is betting a total redesign can make the vehicle appeal to drivers around the world. TIME got an exclusive look into the sixth-generation Mustang’s development, including these never-before-seen images of the car Ford will formally reveal tomorrow. The vehicle, which will go on sale next year as a 2015 model, is lower, sleeker and wider than the current Mustang. The most notable difference: this is the first Mustang to be produced for foreign markets, as Ford tries to turn an American icon into its global flagship. Ford executives and engineers told TIME they found themselves straining to satisfy the demands of drivers in Europe and Asia, produce a Mustang with right-side steering for the U.K., India and Australia, while retaining the performance American customers expect. At one point the project had to be rebooted because original designs were not meeting these requirements, TIME has learned. That cost Ford millions. The new Mustang will also have a surprise under the hood: an optional 4-cylinder, turbo-charged engine. It’s a nod to Europe, where gas prices are twice those in the U.S. but also risks undercutting the Mustang’s marketable heritage as a V8 power machine. Now, by producing a Mustang for sale around the globe, Ford will be extending its strategy of building so-called world cars that can be sold profitably in a wide array of markets with arguably its most recognizable brand. The full story will be available tomorrow on Time.com and in the 12/16 issue of TIME. Thomas Prior for TIME Thomas Prior for TIME
Categories: Financial News

Delivery Drones, Smartphone Airbags and Other Big Ideas: How Jeff Bezos Looks to the Future

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:46am
Jeff Bezos has made headlines for his latest “out of the box” concept, delivery drones. But thinking big is pretty much par for the course for the Amazon founder.
Categories: Financial News

Survey: U.S. Companies Add 215K Jobs, Most in Year

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:45am
(WASHINGTON) — A private survey shows U.S. businesses last month added the most jobs in a year, powered by big gains in manufacturing and construction. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies and small businesses added 215,000 jobs in November. And ADP said private employers added 184,000 jobs in October, much stronger than its initial estimate of 130,000. The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government’s more comprehensive report. Last month, the Labor Department said private businesses added 212,000 jobs in October. The Labor Department will report on November job growth Friday. Still, the figure suggests that hiring remained healthy in November after picking up in the prior three months. Manufacturing and construction firms each added 18,000 jobs. That was the biggest gain for manufacturers since early this year. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the figures show that employers shook off the partial government shutdown in October and kept hiring, despite a drop in consumer confidence. Moody’s helps compile the ADP data. “That’s very encouraging as we make our way into next year,” Zandi said. Other economists also said the hiring boost was a good sign, but noted that the ADP figures are not always a reliable guide to the government’s figure. “Take this with a grain of salt, but if the direction is right, it is good news,” said Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets. Employers of all sizes added jobs, the report found. And services firms added 176,000 jobs, the most in a year. The government says public and private employers have added an average of 202,000 jobs a month from August through October. That was up from an average of 146,000 from May through June. At the same time, growth picked up. The economy expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. But analysts expect growth to slow in the current quarter to about a 2 percent rate.
Categories: Financial News

When You Wear Your Emotions at Work

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 7:08am
Well before he had written a word about management, Peter Drucker learned just how high people’s passions can run at the office. It was the early 1930s, and the then-24-year-old Drucker had been hired as an analyst at a London merchant back called Freedberg & Co. One of his first assignments was to help settle a dispute with a firm in Amsterdam that supposedly owed Freedberg a bunch of money. Drucker scoured the books and determined that, in fact, the Dutch weren’t on the hook for nearly as much as everybody at his bank thought. The partner who’d been pressing the matter for months was “extremely angry” with the finding, Drucker recalled. He blew up. “I don’t need enemies if I have you for a friend,” he told Drucker. I’ve been thinking about the role that emotions play in the workplace since reading a Wall Street Journal piece this week about a campaign being waged by the mayor of New Bedford, Mass., to save the one-time headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway from being razed to make room for a parking lot. The rundown building was the home of a textile manufacturer that was acquired in 1965 by Warren Buffett. He used the cash flow from the mill to help fund the nascent growth of his conglomerate, which kept the Berkshire Hathaway name. Interestingly, Buffett himself has no sentimental attachment to the property. “I don’t know what you’d do with that place,” the billionaire said. But, as the Journal article noted, this doesn’t mean that Buffett’s own emotions were never fully on display there. Indeed, Buffett originally got tangled up with Berkshire Hathaway when he tried to sell some stock back to the textile maker. He thought he had a deal, only to find that Berkshire Hathaway’s president had dropped the offer price at the last minute. “The alleged lowball offer angered . . . Buffett, who then amassed a majority stake in Berkshire Hathaway and gained a seat on its board with the intent of replacing” the company’s top executives, the
Categories: Financial News

Business

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 6:00am
Categories: Financial News

Oh the Irony: Walmart Sells Banksy Piece ‘Destroy Capitalism’

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 1:48am
Walmart entered new dimensions of irony when it briefly advertised prints of Banksy’s piece ‘Destroy Capitalism’ on its website. The renowned British street artist’s publicist said the prints were not made by Banksy. However, since Banksy doesn’t copyright his images, Walmart is free to use them or derivatives of them without asking for permission. In a comment to the Huffington Post, Walmart said that it had “disabled” links to the piece. The company also offered  a print by street artist Eddie Colla. The work, which in this context bears the singularly apt title of “If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission,” is erroneously labeled as Banksy’s on Walmart’s website. “If Walmart had contacted me for a licensing deal, there’s not a dollar amount that exists that I would have done it for,” Colla told LA Weekly, adding that he plans on taking legal action. [Huffington Post]
Categories: Financial News

Newsweek Editor Promises Return to Print

Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:48pm
After halting print publication last year, Newsweek announced Tuesday that it plans to resume publishing a weekly print version beginning in January or February. It expects to publish a 64-page edition weekly, Jim Impoco, Newsweek‘s editor-in-chief, told the New York Times. Like other venerable media institutions, Newsweek has struggled in the Internet era. At its peak in 1991, the magazine had 3.3 million readers. In 2010, the Washington Post — Newsweek‘s owner — sold the magazine to the billionaire investor Sidney Harman for one dollar. Later that year, Newsweek merged with the Daily Beast, a digital publication founded by Tina Brown in 2008. Last December, Newsweek published its last print issue, reportedly saving $40 million per year by ending the dead-tree edition. In August, IBT Media, owner of the International Business Times, bought the magazine, severing it from the Daily Beast. Impoco became Newsweek‘s editor in September. For decades, Newsweek and TIME maintained one of the most-watched rivalries in the news business. [NYT]
Categories: Financial News

Cyber Monday Was Biggest Online Shopping Day Ever

Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:22pm
Cyber Monday hit a new record this year as shoppers skipped physical stores for deals on websites. Monday shopping brought in $1.735 billion in desktop online spending this year, making it the most lucrative online shopping day in history. Compared to last year, there was an 18 percent increase in online shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, according to comScore. Shoppers also hit online outlets the weekend before Cyber Monday, spending $1.594 billion — a 34 percent increase over last year. U.S. Consumers have spent a total of $23.9 billion online for the 2013 holiday season-to-date. Monday is the first full workday after Thanksgiving, and as employees return to their desks, they browse online for holiday deals. The success of the Cyber Monday stands in stark contrast to a lackluster Black Friday: sales the day after Thanksgiving fell an estimated 2.9% this year.
Categories: Financial News

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