Motorola buys Zecter
Motorola Mobility Inc, the smartphone maker being spun off from Motorola Inc, bought software company Zecter Inc to help consumers transfer music more easily between its handsets and other devices. Zecter’s ZumoCast and ZumoDrive software let users move content from phones to computers and tablet devices, Motorola Mobility said yesterday in a statement. The price wasn’t disclosed. Motorola Mobility, which begins trading as a separate company next month, is trying to distinguish itself from Samsung Electronics Co and HTC Corp, which also build phones based on Google Inc’s Android software.
New rescue fund planned
Several European countries are working on a permanent euro rescue mechanism that would include the creation of a new and independent funding institution, a press report said yesterday. Germany is considering a “European stability, growth and investment fund,” according to a government paper seen by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily. The new body would exist side-by-side with the European Central Bank, would benefit from the same independence and would be tasked with helping financially distressed eurozone countries in exchange for strict conditions. Governments which needed to borrow from the fund would have to put up solid collateral such as gold reserves or private bonds, the newspaper said.
French spending rises
French consumer spending on manufactured goods rose last month, matching the highest in more than seven years, as the pending expiration of a government auto subsidy spurred car sales. Spending gained 2.8 percent from October, when it declined a revised 0.6 percent, national statistics office Insee said in a statement from Paris yesterday. Economists predicted a 0.9 percent increase, the median of 11 forecasts gathered by Bloomberg showed. Spending rose 1.5 percent from a year ago. The aid for new car purchases, instituted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in December 2008 as the nation plunged into recession, will be withdrawn at the end of this month. That led to a 14.9 percent increase in auto-related purchases last month
Soybeans hit two-year high
Soybeans advanced to the highest level in more than two years on concern that dry weather in South America could threaten crops in Brazil and Argentina amid rising global demand, led by China. Corn and wheat also gained. The March-delivery contract gained as much as 0.7 percent to US13.495 a bushel in Chicago, the highest level since August 2008, before trading at US$13.4725 at 3:28pm in Singapore. Prices have risen 28 percent this year on record Chinese demand. Dry weather caused by a La Nina event, which has already hurt crops, will return to Argentina from Saturday and persist through next week, according to a report from AccuWeather.com.
New Delhi cools off onions
The government took emergency measures to cool onion prices after excess rainfall damaged crops and contributed to an acceleration in food inflation to a six-week high. An index measuring wholesale prices of agricultural products including lentils, rice and vegetables compiled by the commerce ministry rose 12.13 percent in the week ended on Dec. 11 from a year earlier, a trade ministry report said yesterday. The index gained 9.46 percent the previous week.