Apple leapfrogs Exxon Mobil
Culture-changing technology outshined crude oil on Wednesday with iPhone and iPad maker Apple Inc eclipsing Exxon Mobil Corp as the most valuable company in the world based on the value of its stock. Despite an overall dismal day on the New York Stock Exchange, Apple ended trading with its stock priced at US$363.69 per share for a total market capitalization of US$337.2 billion. Exxon Mobil’s stock price slipped to US$68.03 per share to give the international petroleum giant a valuation of US$330.8 billion.
GM chairman worried
General Motors Co chairman Dan Akerson is worried about the chances of another economic recession, he said yesterday in an interview with the Financial Times Deutscheland. “There is a danger of a new recession and I see it with concern,” Akerson was quoted by the German-language daily as saying. Global equity markets have been extremely volatile over the past week owing to fears of a double dip recession, driven by the US and eurozone debt crises.
China lifts AB InBev profits
The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, said yesterday that second-quarter profits rose by more than a quarter as higher sales in China made up for declining demand in the US and Brazil. Beer volumes in China, where AB InBev is pushing its Budweiser as well as Harbin and Sedrin brands, rose 12 percent in the second quarter, compared with a year earlier. The company said net profit rose to US$1.45 billion from US$1.15 billion.
Aegon profits decline
Aegon NV, the Dutch owner of US insurer Transamerica, says its second-quarter net profit fell 2.1 percent as better investment gains failed to mask weaknesses in its underlying business. Net profit was 403 million euros (US$573 million), down from 413 million euros in the same period last year. Aegon cited US customers canceling or not renewing life insurance policies that were profitable for the company.
Jobless rate hits 5.1 percent
Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose last month to 5.1 percent, data showed yesterday, hitting its highest level since November last year as the economy shed 22,000 full-time jobs. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the jobless rate increased 0.1 percentage points from a revised 5.0 percent in June, worse than the 4.9 percent expected by the market.
Machinery orders soar
Japan’s core private-sector machinery orders unexpectedly soared 7.7 percent in June from the previous month, official data showed yesterday. The core data, which excludes volatile demand from power companies and for ships, rose for the second straight month after a 3 percent increase in May and a fall of 3.3 percent in April, figures from the Cabinet Office showed.
Interest rates unchanged
South Korea’s central bank left interest rates on hold yesterday, setting in all likelihood a precedent for Asian policymakers forced to respond to a global economic slump and briefly halt their battle against inflation. The Bank of Korea was unambiguous in its statement, saying that while inflation would remain high, the downside risks to growth had increased.