US consumer sentiment up
US consumer sentiment picked up more steam early this month, rising to the highest in eight months as Americans grew more optimistic about job prospects, a survey released on Friday showed. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary reading for this month on its overall index of consumer sentiment rose to 74 from 69.9 last month for the fifth month of gains and the highest level since May last year. Separate data released earlier in the day showed the US trade deficit widened in November to its largest in five months. Department of Commerce data showed the trade gap totaled US$47.8 billion in November, exceeding analysts’ forecast of a US$45 billion deficit.
SAP’s revenue rises 11%
Business software maker SAP AG reported on Friday that revenue increased 11 percent in the fourth quarter, driven by stronger demand for its core business in enterprise software and its Hana in-memory computing technology, which permits instant analysis of large amounts of data. Sales rose to 4.5 billion euros (US$5.75 billion) from 4.06 billion euros in the same quarter a year ago. Operating earnings hit 1.67 billion euros, more than three times the 0.54 billion euros result from a year ago.
Kodak sues Fujifilm
Eastman Kodak Co is suing Fujifilm Corp, claiming that some of its Japanese rival’s cameras infringe its patented digital-imaging technology. The lawsuit, filed on Friday in the US District Court in Rochester, New York, claims Fujifilm infringed five separate Kodak patents related to various aspects of capturing, storing, previewing and transmitting images. The ailing photography pioneer, which has relied on patent licensing fees and lawsuits for extra cash for years, says it has licensed the same technology to more than 30 companies, including mobile-device makers such as Motorola Inc and Nokia Corp.
Tesla’s top engineers leave
US electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc said both its chief engineer and director of chassis engineering for the Model S luxury car left the company just months before the rechargeable sedan goes on sale in the middle of this year. Tesla vice president and chief engineer Peter Rawlinson and the firm’s director of vehicle and chassis engineering Nick Sampson departed this month, the company said in an e-mailed statement.
Canada posts surplus
Canada’s trade balance with the world jumped from a revised deficit of C$487 million (US$475.8 million) in October to a surplus of C$1.1 billion in November, the government said on Friday. Analysts had expected a C$400 million deficit. Exports increased 3.2 percent to C$40.1 billion, led by gains in energy sales abroad, while imports declined 0.8 percent to C$39 billion, Statistics Canada said.
Outlook revised to negative
Fitch Ratings on Friday revised South Africa’s outlook from stable to negative, citing the country’s failure to create enough jobs and to speed up economic growth. South Africa’s unemployment rate is mired at about 25 percent, while its economic growth has averaged 2.7 percent over the last five years — lower than the average in similar economies, Fitch said. However, Fitch said that South Africa’s “BBB+” foreign credit rating was still supported by the strength of its courts, regulators and government authorities.