Business Highlights


Ireland faces more austerity after end of bailout

DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland’s finance chief says the country’s exit from its international bailout this week should be celebrated as a eurozone triumph, but won’t mean an end to austerity for the debt-battered Irish.

On Sunday, Ireland officially ends its reliance on a 67.5 billion-euro ($93 billion) loan program that European governments and the International Monetary Fund provided in 2010 to save the Irish from national bankruptcy.

Ireland is the first country in the 17-member eurozone to regain economic sovereignty after a bailout, in contrast to Greece, Cyprus and Portugal. But Finance Minister Michael Noonan told a press conference Friday that investors in new Irish bonds would need to see the country continue to slash spending and deficits through 2015 at least.

Ireland has imposed austerity since a 2008 banking crisis.


Toyota to enter settlement negotiations

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — After a four-year legal battle, Toyota is entering settlement talks on hundreds of lawsuits that allege sudden unintended acceleration problems with its vehicles led to deaths and injuries.

A motion filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana indicated both sides would begin an “intensive settlement process” next month.

The Japanese automaker, which has recalled millions of cars since 2009 over the issue, agreed to the negotiations to make resolving the cases more efficient, spokeswoman Carly Schaffner told The Associated Press on Friday.


US wholesale costs fall for 3rd month on cheap gas

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices dropped in November for the third consecutive month, pushed down again by cheaper gasoline and lower home heating oil costs. But excluding volatile energy costs, inflation was mostly stable.

The producer price index, which measures prices before they reach the consumer, declined 0.1 per cent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. This comes after similar decreases in October and September.

Both consumer and wholesale inflation have been running extremely low in the past year. High unemployment and weak wage increases have made it difficult for businesses to raise prices.


New daily paper planned for Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The owner of the Orange County Register plans a new daily newspaper in Los Angeles, the boldest step yet in an expansion across Southern California that emphasizes printed publications while others in the industry are focusing on digital.

The new seven-day-a-week paper will be known as the Los Angeles Register, Freedom Communications CEO Aaron Kushner told The Associated Press on Thursday night, a few hours after announcing the move to his staff in the Orange County Register’s newsroom. In addition, Kushner said the Register would open an unspecified number of Los Angeles community weeklies.


Plans scrapped to build ‘EuroVegas’ in Spain

MADRID (AP) — Casino operator Las Vegas Sands on Friday scrapped plans to build a “EuroVegas” resort near Madrid after the Spanish government rejected as illegal concessions demanded for the investment.

The company, led by 80-year-old American tycoon Sheldon Adelson, had proposed a 22 billion-euro ($30 billion) project that was to include 12 hotels, six casinos, a convention centre, golf courses, theatres, shopping malls, bars and restaurants.

The government in Spain, where unemployment stands at 26 per cent, had hoped it might create some 260,000 jobs, especially among the young, where unemployment is around 50 per cent. But the plan had been fiercely opposed by many who feared the resort would lead to a change in non-smoking laws, promote prostitution and provide only low-paying jobs.


GM gets about $343 million for PSA stake

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. got about $343 million for its 7 per cent stake in French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen.

The Detroit company on Friday said that it completed the private placement sale of 24.8 million PSA shares for 250 million euros.

GM bought the PSA stake in March 2012 for $402 million when the companies announced a car-building and purchasing alliance. That means the company will lose about $59 million on the deal.


End of year shapes up to be prime car-buying time

DETROIT (AP) — If the spirit of giving — or of treating yourself — has inspired you to buy a car this holiday season, you’re in luck. Many local auto dealerships are overflowing with sedans, trucks and SUVs, so there are deals to be had.

Most dealers have abundant supplies of 2013 models, and 2014s are arriving as automakers keep factories humming. Since dealers pay interest on money borrowed to buy the cars, they’re probably anxious to sell them soon.

The December holiday season normally is a good time to buy as dealers clear out old models and sales people feel pressure to meet year-end targets. Some sales ran early this year as automakers tried to get a piece of the Black Friday retail holiday action.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.93 points, or 0.1 per cent, to close at 15,755.36. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.18 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 1,775.32. The Nasdaq composite rose 2.57 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 4,000.98.

Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery dropped 90 cents to $96.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.63 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $2.97 gallon. Natural gas rose 5 cents to $4.40 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 6 cents to $108.32 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.