Inflation lower than expected
The government said yesterday inflation rose a weaker-than-expected 0.1 percent in the March quarter, fueling speculation the central bank will cut interest rates next week. The Consumer Price Index had been expected to rise 0.6 percent for the quarter and analysts said the disappointing figure essentially locked in a stimulatory rate cut when the Reserve Bank of Australia meets on Tuesday next week.
Consumer confidence climbs
Consumer confidence unexpectedly climbed for a second month this month on optimism that a 10-month rise in joblessness is slowing. Household sentiment improved to 88 from 87 last month, national statistics office Insee said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Economists expected a reading of 87, according to the median of 14 estimates gathered by Bloomberg News.
Toshiba plans Thai factory
Toshiba said yesterday it would build a new chip factory in Thailand to replace one hit by record flooding last year that hammered Japanese manufacturers operating in the nation. The plant, scheduled to start production by the middle of next year, will be built in Prachinburi Province, about 140km northeast of Bangkok on a site with no major rivers nearby, Toshiba said.
Novartis earnings drop 18%
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG has reported an 18 percent drop in earnings for the first quarter. Novartis said its net profit fell to US$2.33 billion from US$2.82 billion in the same period last year. The Basel-based company said in a statement yesterday that profits were affected by strong competition in the generic drugs market and manufacturing problems at a plant in Nebraska.
TI expects to beat estimates
Texas Instruments Inc (TI) forecast second-quarter revenue growth ahead of Wall Street estimates, signaling the end of a prolonged inventory-related decline in demand. The maker of chips used in everything from communications equipment to cars forecast current-quarter revenue of between US$3.22 billion and US$3.48 billion. This implies a mid-point above analyst expectations for US$3.29 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Xbox infringes patent: ITC
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Monday issued a preliminary ruling that Microsoft infringed on Motorola Mobility patents in its hit Xbox 360 videogame consoles. Administrative law judge David Shaw backed four out of five Motorola claims that the company’s intellectual property was usurped in Xbox software for tasks such as efficiently moving video files or connecting wirelessly to the Internet.
Steel wire duties rejected
A trade panel on Monday rejected proposed duties on steel wire from China and Mexico after determining domestic producers were not harmed or threatened by the imports. The International Trade Commission voted 4-2 to deny duties in the case filed last year by steel wire companies in California, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Michigan and Oklahoma. The panel also denied duties last week in two other cases involving refrigerators from South Korea and Mexico and steel wheels from China.