Unemployment hits record
The number of registered job seekers in Spain rose for the eighth-straight month last month to a new record high, government figures showed yesterday. The number of workers officially registered as unemployed climbed by 0.82 percent from the previous month to 4.75 million, the highest figure since the current statistical series began in 1996, the labor ministry said. The Spanish economy, the eurozone’s fourth largest, is expected to contract 1.7 percent this year, after posting a modest expansion of 0.7 percent last year, according to official estimates.
Australia maintains rate
Australia’s central bank yesterday kept interest rates steady at 4.25 percent, saying growth was close to trend and inflation near target even as it hinted a rate cut may be in the offing next month. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens said the board decided at its monthly monetary policy meeting that the current setting was correct, after easing rates late last year. Inflation came in at about 2.5 percent last year and was expected to remain within the bank’s target range of 2 to 3 percent over the coming one to two years, he added.
Groupon hit by profit change
Online discount deals firm Groupon saw its fledgling stock price sink on Monday as word spread that it overstated its quarterly earnings. Groupon’s stock price sank nearly 17 percent throughout the day, gaining back a little ground to US$15.35 in after-hours trading. The loss of investor faith in Groupon came after the Chicago-based firm on late Friday revealed that it had overstated earnings in its first quarterly financial report, blaming accounting mistakes. Groupon lowered its revenue for the final three months of last year by US$14.3 million and its net income by US$22.6 million. The adjustment pushed Groupon’s loss for the quarter to about US$65 million.
Solar Trust seeks protection
A California solar energy company that was unable to meet a deadline for a US Energy Department loan guarantee last year has sought bankruptcy protection in Delaware. Solar Trust of America’s filing on Monday listed assets between US$1 million and US$10 million, and liabilities between US$50 million and US$100 million.
Google loses Australia case
An Australian court has found Google Inc guilty of breaching trade law by posting misleading or deceptive advertisements, in a ruling that holds search engines responsible for their advertisers’ content. The Federal Court yesterday overturned a judge’s ruling from September last year that Google was not responsible for advertisers’ breaches of Australia’s Trade Practices Act. Google said it was disappointed by the decision and was considering its options, which include a High Court appeal.
Hyundai, Magna team up
Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, yesterday said it would set up a joint venture with a Canadian firm to develop battery technology for electric and hybrid vehicles. A deal was signed on Monday in Seoul between Hyundai Heavy and Magna E-Cara, a supplier of components and systems for hybrid and electric vehicles, to develop lithium-ion battery technologies, the shipbuilder said in a statement. The joint venture will be owned 60 percent by Magna E-Car and 40 percent by Hyundai Heavy.