No time to lose: Juncker
Cyprus needs to speed up negotiations with its potential creditors on a deal that would enable the cash-strapped country to receive international financial aid, the president of the 17-nation eurozone said on Friday. Jean-Claude Juncker said there is “no time to lose” on reaching a bailout deal with the European Central Bank, IMF and the European Commission — collectively known as the troika. Cyprus in June joined fellow eurozone members Greece, Ireland and Portugal in seeking an international bailout to recapitalize its banks which have taken huge losses due to their heavy exposure to debt-crushed Greece.
Walmart fails to reach deal
Walmart Stores Inc said on Friday it had failed to reach a deal with a developer to have a store in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, dealing the company a setback in its attempt to open its first location in the largest US City. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, had been in talks with Related Companies to open a store that would have anchored the Gateway Two Plaza development in Brooklyn. A Shop Rite supermarket will instead occupy that space. In a statement, Walmart said it would continue to look for a site, adding that most New Yorkers want the discount giant to open a store in their city. Walmart has faced opposition from some groups in New York that say it does not pay its workers adequately and would drive out small local businesses.
Insurer in healthcare index
UnitedHealth Group Inc will replace Kraft Foods Inc in the Dow Jones industrial average, putting the US’ largest health insurer in the storied 30-stock index at a time when an aging population is making healthcare one of the strongest-growing segments of the economy. UnitedHealth joins pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co among the Dow’s healthcare stocks. Insurance is already represented by Travelers Companies Inc, though UnitedHealth will be the only insurance stock with a healthcare focus. The group has been volatile in recent years because of US President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, and because of aging US population demographics, which could increase demand for long-term healthcare options.
VAT plans to affect poultry
UK plans to include fresh roasted chickens sold in supermarkets among hot takeaway foods subject to value-added tax (VAT) would cost farmers and shoppers millions of pounds, the British Poultry Council said. New rules on sales tax will increase the cost to shoppers of whole rotisserie chickens by 20 percent as of Oct. 1, the council wrote in an e-mailed statement. That could prompt consumers to cut purchases by 9 percent, or 73,000 birds a week, the council said, citing an in-store trial by William Morrison Supermarkets PLC. British shoppers buy about 810,000 rotisserie chickens a week in supermarkets, with a value of about ￡185 million (US$300 million) a year, according to Peter Bradnock, chief executive officer of the council. The tax would bring in ￡34 million for the government, while sales of rotisserie chicken in the UK might fall by as much as 4 million birds, or ￡17 million, the council wrote.