Wed, Dec 18, 2013 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED STATES

Industrial output surges

Industrial output surged 1.1 percent last month powered by manufacturing, where the automobile sector drove a fourth consecutive monthly gain, the Federal Reserve reported on Monday. The rebound came after a narrow contraction in October, and was also helped by a jump in utility output due to colder-than-average weather last month, the Fed said. The manufacturing sector gained 0.6 percent in the month, and utilities 3.9 percent.

AUTOMAKERS

Europe’s new car sales rise

European new car sales rose a third consecutive month last month, the longest period of gains in four years, as demand for autos from Volkswagen AG and Renault SA contributed to signs that an industrywide decline is ending. Registrations for last month increased 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 975,281 vehicles, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association said yesterday in a statement.

TECHNOLOGY

Google buys robot firm

Big Dog, a four-legged robot that can climb muddy hills, and Cheetah, a robot which can outrun the fastest human, are among the robots that now belong to Google Inc. The world’s largest Internet search company acquired Boston Dynamics, a privately held company best known for building robots that look as if they belong in a science-fiction movie and which are often co-developed or funded by the US military. The acquisition is the latest by Google’s secretive robotics division, led by Andy Rubin, the former boss of the company’s Android mobile operating system. Google’s new robotics division has acquired more than a half-dozen other robotics companies.

INVESTMENT

JPMorgan unit up for sale

JPMorgan Chase & Co is seeking to sell a global investment unit in a push to simplify operations by paring non-essential holdings, a person familiar with the matter said. JPMorgan began offering its Global Special Opportunities unit, which has about US$2 billion in assets, to potential buyers in the past few weeks, the person said. Private-equity firms Blackstone Group LP, Carlyle Group LP and KKR & Co among possible bidders for the business, which could fetch US$1 billion, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

MEXICO

State oil monopoly broken

The government’s controversial energy reform breaking a 75-year national oil monopoly will be enacted immediately now that a majority of states have approved it, the president said on Monday. A standing committee in the Congress still has to approve the change, designed to lure foreign investment, but this is expected in a matter of days “and once it happens I will promulgate the reform immediately,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said during a visit to Turkey, according to a statement from his office.

UNITED STATES

Woman to chair Lockheed

Defense giant Lockheed Martin on Monday announced that chief executive Marillyn Hewson is to take over as chairperson of the Pentagon contractor in January. Hewson, who became the first female chief executive at Lockheed in January, is to assume the top spot on the board with the retirement of current chairman Robert Stevens.

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