Apple’s iPhone sales rise, but 4Q earnings fall
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple’s latest quarterly earnings fell 9 per cent as more people bought the company’s lower-priced iPhones and iPads.
The company’s fourth-quarter results announced Monday included early sales of the latest iPhones released late last month.
The models, called the 5S and 5C, helped Apple Inc. increase its iPhone sales from the same time last year. But the average price that Apple fetched for its iPhones declined to extend a recent trend that has trimmed the Cupertino, Calif., company’s profit margin and depressed its stock price.
This marks the third consecutive quarter that Apple’s earnings have dropped from the previous year.
Lexus, Toyota top auto reliability survey
DETROIT (AP) — Japan’s lock on Consumer Reports’ vehicle reliability rankings is starting to ease.
Three Japanese brands — Lexus, Toyota and Acura — took the top spots in this year’s survey, and seven of the top 10 brands are Japanese.
But three non-Japanese brands — Audi, Volvo and GMC — cracked the top 10. And the magazine announced Monday it’s not recommending that consumers buy 2014 models of the Honda Accord V6 and Nissan Altima sedans, two of Japan’s top sellers, because of poor reliability scores. Two other Japanese mainstays, the Toyota Camry and Toyota RAV4, won’t be recommended because they flunked a frontal crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
That’s a blow that could impact sales. Consumer Reports’ recommendations are frequently cited among the top reasons people buy particular cars and trucks.
Italian vintners look abroad as home sales slump
TORANO NUOVO, Italy (AP) — It’s harvest season at the family-run vintner Emidio Pepe in central Italy and workers are wading into the vineyards, hand-picking grapes and pressing them under their boots in giant wooden vats.
The seasonal ritual has brought together generations of rural communities. But the final product, the highly-rated Pecorino white, is now more likely to be enjoyed in New York or Beijing than in the local village of Torano Nuovo, in the Abruzzo region. That’s because wine-drinking in Italy, one of the world’s biggest producers, is hitting record lows, forcing many vintners to seek buyers abroad.
Consumption is at its weakest since Italy was unified as a country in 1861, according to Coldiretti, the main farmers’ association. The most immediate cause has been the economic downturn, which has pinched incomes. But that has just accelerated what has been a decades-long slide in consumption.
US factory output rises just 0.1 per cent in September
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factories barely boosted their output in September, adding to other signs that the economy was slowing even before the government shutdown began on Oct. 1.
Manufacturing production rose only 0.1 per cent, the Federal Reserve said Monday. That’s down from a 0.5 per cent gain in August, which was slightly lower than previously reported.
Automakers boosted their output in September, but the gain was offset by declines at makers of computers, furniture and appliances.
Signed contracts to buy US homes plunges in September
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes fell in September to the lowest level in nine months. The decline reflects higher mortgage rates and home prices that have made purchases more costly.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index dropped 5.6 per cent last month from August to a reading of 101.6. That also pushed the index below its year-ago level, the first time that’s happened in nearly 2 1/2 years.
There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale. The drop suggests final sales will decline in the coming months.
Merck 3Q net income falls on charges, lower sales
Merck & Co.’s third-quarter profit plunged 35 per cent because of competition from generic drugs, lower sales of its top-selling medicine, and restructuring and acquisition charges.
It still beat Wall Street’s profit expectations, but sharply lowered its own forecast for the full year, sending shares down.
Generic competition continues to hammer asthma and allergy pill Singulair, cutting sales 53 per cent to $280 million. The drug brought in $5.5 billion a year until its patent expired in August 2012 and cheap copycat versions flooded the market.
Burger King sees early promise in Satisfries
NEW YORK (AP) — Burger King says it’s attracting more customers with its new lower-calorie fries but is being careful not to call them a home run yet.
The Miami-based company said Monday that it saw sales trends in North America turn positive after last month’s launch of “Satisfries,” which have 20 per cent fewer calories than its regular fries because of a batter that absorbs less oil.
The move into positive sales territory in October comes after Burger King said that sales slipped 0.3 per cent at North America restaurants open at least a year during its third quarter. Satisfries, which cost around 30 cents more than regular fries, weren’t introduced until the last week of the quarter, which ended Sept. 30.
Luxury goods sales slow as China demand ebbs
MILAN (AP) — Chinese shoppers are cutting back on designer duds, leather handbags and pricey watches, putting a drag on global sales of luxury goods, which a study forecasts to expand just 2 per cent this year.
The analysis released Monday by Bain & Company estimated 2013 luxury sales at 217 billion euros ($300 billion), up from 212 billion euros in 2012. The increase is a fraction of the double-digit growth enjoyed the previous three years.
Sales of luxury goods in China are expected to grow by just 2.5 per cent, to 15.3 billion euros, as a result of an anti-corruption crackdown that has slowed gift-giving and a tendency by Chinese tourists to shop abroad, Bain said.
Docs to parents: Limit kids’ texts, tweets, online
CHICAGO (AP) — Doctors 2 parents: Limit kids’ tweeting, texting & keep smartphones, laptops out of bedrooms. #goodluckwiththat.
The recommendations are bound to prompt eye-rolling and LOLs from many teens but an influential pediatricians group says parents need to know that unrestricted media use can have serious consequences.
It’s been linked with violence, cyberbullying, school woes, obesity, lack of sleep and a host of other problems. It’s not a major cause of these troubles, but “many parents are clueless” about the profound impact media exposure can have on their children, said Dr. Victor Strasburger, lead author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics policy.
Consol to sell 5 mines for at least $850M in cash
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Consol Energy Inc. said Monday it is selling all five of its longwall coal mines in West Virginia to a subsidiary of Ohio-based Murray Energy for a deal that includes $850 million in cash.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J. Brett Harvey said the sale of the Consolidation Coal Co. subsidiary was a difficult decision but is good for the company’s long-term growth and allows Consol to focus more on natural gas exploration and development.
Consol is selling the McElroy, Shoemaker, Robinson Run, Loveridge and Blacksville No. 2 mines, which produced a combined 28.5 million tons of thermal coal last year. The transaction also includes river and dock operations with a fleet of 600 barges and 21 towboats.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average edged down 1.35 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 15,568.93. The Nasdaq composite closed down 3.23 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 3,940.13. The Nasdaq composite closed down 3.23 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 3,940.13.
Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery gained 83 cents at $98.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international crude also used by U.S. refineries, rose $2.68 to $109.61 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Wholesale gasoline added 4 cents to $2.63 a gallon. Heating oil rose 5 cents to $2.96 a gallon. Natural gas fell 14 cents to $3.57 per 1,000 cubic feet.