Home resales surge
Home resales surged last month to a 6.5-year high and factories grew busier in the Mid-Atlantic region this month, signs that rising borrowing costs are weighing only modestly on the economy. Last month, sales of existing homes grew 1.7 percent, the National Association of Realtors said, while a survey conducted by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region increased by the most in more than two years this month and firms’ optimism about the future hit a 10-year high. In yet another indication the economy is shrugging off higher borrowing costs, an index of US leading indicators advanced by a greater-than-expected 0.7 percent last month.
Storm in a D-cup
The country’s three biggest department stores colluded with a garment manufacturer to fix the price of one of the nation’s leading sports bra brands, the competition watchdog alleged yesterday. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) alleged that manufacturer DB Apparel UK Ltd entered into nine anti-competitive agreements with department stores John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser between 2008 and 2011. It believes they infringed competition law by entering into resale price maintenance agreements that set a fixed or minimum resale price on numerous products within the Shock Absorber sports bra range. The OFT said that during the three years in question the Shock Absorber range had a market share of about 15 percent.
Firms line up for auction
Eleven oil firms paid more than US$900,000 each to enter an auction next month for rights to explore Brazil’s huge deepwater Libra field, authorities said on Thursday. The list features several titans of the industry, including Anglo-Dutch Shell, Petrobras, France’s Total, China National Offshore Oil Corp (中國海洋石油) and Chinese-Spanish Repsol/Sinopec, according to National Petroleum Agency (ANP) chief Magda Chambriard. The enormous Libra oil prospect, found in 2010, marked the largest oil discovery in Brazilian history. It is believed to hold between 8 billion and 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil, and covers an area of 1,500km2 in ultra-deep oil fields.
Adidas cuts forecasts
Adidas AG, the world’s second-largest maker of sporting goods, cut the low end of this year’s profit forecast by 7.9 percent, citing the euro’s strength, a glitch in a Russian distribution site and weakness in the global golf market. Net income this year will be 820 million euros (US$1.1 billion) to 850 million euros, the German company said in a statement on Thursday. Adidas had previously forecast net income of 890 million euros to 920 million euros. Adidas also cut its operating margin forecast to about 8.5 percent from a previous forecast of 9 percent.
Newspaper ends agreement
The Wall Street Journal, part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, said on Thursday it would split with the technology news Web site AllThingsD by the end of the year. The news comes amid a major reorganization in Murdoch’s holdings, following a split of his News Corp into two separate groups. A statement from Dow Jones, the operating unit for the Wall Street Journal, said the agreement between the newspaper and Web site would be terminated.