US firms in anti-trust probes
Beijing yesterday said it has been investigating two US companies — including chipmaker Qualcomm — since last year over potential anti-trust violations. The confirmation by the National Development and Reform Commission, one of the country’s three anti-trust watchdogs, came after both companies had already acknowledged the investigations. Commission official Xu Kunlin (許昆林) discussed the probes yesterday at a press conference, saying they were launched after separate complaints by unnamed industry players in the country that the US companies were abusing their market dominance to charge high prices.
Swiss curbs risky: Moody’s
Ratings agency Moody’s warned on Tuesday that immigration curbs in Switzerland would hit the economy and the country’s key banking sector, after voters narrowly backed proposals to curtail immigration from the EU in a referendum on Feb. 9. “The introduction of quotas on labor immigration could reduce housing demand, thereby exerting pressure on residential house prices, and potentially leading to a faster-than-anticipated slowdown in residential housing markets,” Moody’s said. “In addition, negative repercussions on Swiss-EU trade may put pressure on export-oriented businesses, thereby leading to weaker corporate asset quality.”
Hockey urges asset sales
State governments that sell assets such as airports and utilities as part of a national policy to rekindle economic growth will get new tax arrangements to offset lost revenue, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said yesterday. Hockey wants to reinvest the money from asset sales into new national infrastructure that he hopes will fill the investment void left by the slowing mining industry. The government hopes sales of state firms will raise as much as A$130 billion (US$117 billion), but the policy would also result in some lost revenue for states by putting the businesses in private hands.
Sony sells 5.4 million PS4s
Sony on Monday appeared to be winning the latest battle in a long-running video game console war. The Japanese giant announced that it has sold more than 5.4 million PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles since the new-generation gaming system debuted in November. Microsoft said it sold 1 million Xbox One consoles in the day after its release and that figure reportedly tripled by the start of this year. It has not released its latest Xbox One sales.
NASDAQ opens center
NASDAQ has opened a customer service center in the Philippines in a coup for the country’s rapidly growing outsourcing industry. The operator of the namesake US stock exchange yesterday said the office will be part of its efforts to provide 24-hour support services for its corporate clients. It says the Manila office has 170 staff.
Coca-Cola Q4 sales fall
Coca-Cola’s fourth-quarter profit fell as the world’s biggest beverage maker once again sold less soft drinks in North America. For the three months ended Dec. 31, Coca-Cola earned US$1.71 billion, or US0.38 per share, on revenue of US$11.04 billion. The maker of Sprite, Dasani and Vitaminwater water said on Tuesday that sales volume declined 1 percent in North America. It also saw slower growth in emerging markets, such as India and China.