Confident consumers give US retail sales a lift
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans spent more money at retailers in September — a buying surge that reflected growing consumer confidence and the launch of the latest iPhone.
Retail sales jumped 1.1 percent last month, producing the best two months of sales in two years, according to figures released Monday by the Commerce Department.
The spike in spending could boost sluggish growth and help revitalize President Barack Obama’s campaign after a strong debate performance by challenger Mitt Romney.
Softbank to buy 70 percent of Sprint for $20.1 billion
NEW YORK (AP) — Sprint, the No. 3 cellphone company in the U.S., is selling a controlling stake to Japan’s Softbank for $20.1 billion.
The deal, announced Monday in Tokyo, positions Sprint Nextel Corp. as a stronger competitor to U.S. market leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T, but it doesn’t solve all of the company’s underlying problems.
Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kan. has been limping along since 2005, when it bought Nextel. The merger quickly turned sour, saddling Sprint with the cost of running two incompatible networks while customers fled.
Softbank Corp., a holding company with investments in Internet and telecom businesses, made its own venture into the wireless world in 2005, with the acquisition of Vodafone Japan. It turned that business around, giving President Masayoshi Son the confidence that he can make Sprint a profitable company again after five straight years of losses.
ACLU sues Morgan Stanley over subprime loans
NEW YORK (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union accused Morgan Stanley of violating civil rights laws by encouraging a lender to push more expensive and risky mortgages in black neighborhoods of Detroit.
The ACLU and others filed the lawsuit Monday on behalf of five homeowners who took out loans from New Century Mortgage Corp., a subprime lender that has since collapsed. Morgan Stanley said the allegations were ‘‘completely without merit.’’
The lawsuit claims Morgan Stanley pushed New Century to make the risky loans because Morgan made its profit at the start of the process and sold the loans before they could go bad.
2 Americans win Nobel econ prize for match-making
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two American scholars won the Nobel economics prize Monday for work on match-making — how to pair doctors with hospitals, students with schools, kidneys with transplant recipients and even men with women in marriage.
Lloyd Shapley of UCLA and Alvin Roth, a Harvard University professor currently visiting at Stanford University, found ways to make markets work when traditional economic tools fail.
Shapley, 89, came up with the formulas to match supply and demand in markets where prices don’t do the job; the 60-year-old Roth put Shapley’s math to work in the real world.
Manufacturers launch program to hire more veterans
WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of the nation’s leading manufacturing companies announced a new program Monday to help veterans gain the skills necessary to fill some of the estimated 600,000 high-tech, manufacturing jobs that remain open because employers can’t find qualified applicants.
The manufacturers say the program will be initially offered in 10 cities. The companies will work with local community and technology colleges to offer training and to put veterans on a fast track to obtaining certification in such areas as electronics, welding and machining.
The effort to hire more veterans will also involve working with employers. General Electric and Military Families at Syracuse University are developing a reference guide that employers can use to help them more effectively recruit and mentor veterans. The guide will be made available to those companies participating in efforts by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the White House to help 100,000 veterans and their spouses obtain work by 2014.
Citi beats expectations after loss on brokerage
NEW YORK (AP) — Citigroup said Monday that it beat Wall Street predictions for quarterly earnings after stripping out a big loss on its retail brokerage and other one-time charges.
Net income was $3.3 billion, excluding one-time items. That amounts to $1.06 per share, beating the 96 cents predicted by analysts polled by financial data provider FactSet. Analyst predictions generally exclude one-time charges and gains.
Revenue, after the special charges, was $19.4 billion. That beat expectations of $18 billion.
The bank wrote down $4.7 billion after agreeing to sell its portion of retail brokerage Morgan Stanley Smith Barney for less than it had hoped. Including that and other one-time charges, net income was $468 million, and revenue was $14 billion.Continued...