Wed, Oct 06, 2010 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

ECONOMY

Fed mulls asset purchases

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday that the economy could be helped by another round of asset purchases by the central bank. Bernanke’s comment reinforces analysts’ beliefs that the Fed is likely to take action at its next meeting next month. The Fed is considering launching a new program to buy government debt, a move aimed at driving down rates on mortgages, corporate loans and other debt. It’s wrestling with how much it should buy. “I do think the additional purchases — although we don’t have the precise numbers for how big the effects are — I do think they have the ability to ease financial conditions,” Bernanke said during a town-hall style meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, with college students.

CREDIT CARDS

US sues big three issuers

The US Department of Justice on Monday sued the three largest US credit card companies for anticompetitive practices and reached a proposed settlement with two of them, MasterCard and Visa. Under the settlement, Visa and MasterCard agree not to prohibit merchants from offering customers discounts or rebates for using a particular kind of card. Visa and MasterCard also must allow merchants to express preferences for the use of a low-cost card within a network or other form of payment. However, American Express vowed to fight the charges.

AVIATION

EADS budgets acquisitions

European aerospace group EADS is set to spend up to 2 billion euros (US$2.7 billion) on acquisitions, and has the defense, security and services sectors in mind, CEO Louis Gallois said yesterday. “We have a few targets in sight” in those sectors, and “we have the capacity to invest between one and two billion euros,” Gallois told the German business daily Handelsblatt. The amount is higher than the EADS had indicated previously. With a treasury that currently contains some 8.9 billion euros, EADS wants to strike a better balance among its activities and take some pressure off its main division, the aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

RETAIL

Tesco first-half profit up 15%

Tesco PLC, the world’s third-largest retailer, said yesterday that its first-half profit rose 15 percent as it benefited from recovering economies, particularly in Asia. For the six months ending on Aug. 28, Tesco reported a net profit of £1.18 billion (US$1.87 billion), up from £1.03 billion a year ago. Group sales were up 8.3 percent to £32.9 billion, boosted in part by higher sales taxes in its home market. Excluding tax, gross sales were up 7 percent. Tesco’s gains were led by a 30 percent increase in trading profit in Asia. That compared with a 5.5 percent increase in Britain and 3.1 percent elsewhere in Europe.

INTERNET

Cisco VP to be Skype chief

Skype announced on Monday that a senior vice president of US networking giant Cisco had been named chief executive of the Internet communications service. Tony Bates, who will join the company at the end of this month, replaces Josh Silverman, who has been credited with helping fuel the rapid expansion of Luxembourg-based Skype since taking over as CEO in February 2008. In addition to becoming CEO, Bates will join the board of directors of Skype, the Luxembourg-based company said in a statement. At Cisco, Bates most recently headed the company’s enterprise, commercial and small business division.

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