Economy shrinks in Q2
The economy shrank by 1.1 percent in the second quarter from the previous quarter and by 0.1 percent year-on-year, updated figures from Statistics Finland showed yesterday. Preliminary data issued on Aug. 14 suggested the economy had contracted by 1 percent in the April-to-June period from the previous quarter and by 0.3 percent year-on-year. The country registered positive growth of 0.8 percent in the first quarter this year and 2.9 percent for last year.
Inflation soared in August
Inflation surged to a seven-month high of 3.8 percent last month, the government said yesterday, owing to a disruption to food supplies caused by deadly floods at the start of the month. While still within the government’s full-year 3 to 5 percent target, the figure is well up from the 3.2 percent seen in July, the National Statistics Office said.
NEC selling Lenovo stake
Japanese information technology firm NEC is selling its entire 2.7 percent stake in Chinese PC giant Lenovo (聯想), worth about US$230 million, an NEC spokesman said yesterday. However, NEC would maintain a partnership with Lenovo in PC businesses, including joint venture Lenovo NEC Holdings launched last year, the spokesman added. Shares in Lenovo slumped 7.6 percent to HK$6.12 yesterday in Hong Kong trading.
Facebook gets a reprieve
The firm’s stock got some reprieve in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the company said its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, will not sell stock in the company for at least the next 12 months. In the regulatory filing, Facebook said that two of its board members, Marc Andreessen and Donald Graham, plan to sell shares to cover taxes, but have no “present intention” to sell any additional stock. Facebook’s stock fell to US$17.55 in Tuesday trading, its lowest point ever and closed down US$0.33 at US$17.73. It climbed US$0.31, or 1.8 percent, to US$18.04 in after-hours trading following the disclosure that Zuckerberg is to hold off on selling.
FedEx cuts earnings forecast
FedEx Corp cut its earnings forecast on Tuesday, blaming the weak global economy. The world’s second-biggest package delivery company said the shortfall is primarily in its express division, which moves 3.5 million packages on an average day. That indicates customers are switching from overnight air delivery to slower, cheaper methods. Poor economic conditions in Europe and slowing growth elsewhere, including Asia, have forced the shifts. FedEx expects to earn between US$1.37 and US$1.43 per share in the fiscal first quarter that ended on Friday, down from an original forecast of US$1.45 to US US$1.60 per share.
Veggies only for McDonald’s
McDonald’s Corp, the fast food chain that brought the beef hamburger to the world, is opening its first company-operated vegetarian-only restaurants. The world’s biggest hamburger chain says the locations in India will serve only vegetarian food because of customer preferences in the region. The company could not immediately say when the restaurants would open or how many there would be. McDonald’s says its kitchens in India are already separated into sections for cooking vegetarian and non-vegetarian food and restaurants there do not sell any beef or pork.