Tesla tops Q4 forecasts
Tesla Motors Inc, led by entrepreneur Elon Musk, posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Wednesday and said deliveries of its luxury Model S electric sedan would surge more than 55 percent this year. The company based in Palo Alto, California, earned US$46 million, or earnings per share of US$0.33, excluding one-time items, during the fourth quarter. The average analyst estimate was for a per-share profit of US$0.21, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll. Tesla also shed some light on its plans for building a lithium-ion battery plant, or “giga factory,” that is expected to cut battery costs and allow the company to launch a more affordable electric car in 2017. Tesla shares jumped 12.3 percent to US$217.44 in extended trading after the announcement. A day earlier, the stock shot to an all-time high after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Musk met with Apple Inc’s head of mergers and acquisitions last year.
GDP grows 6.1 percent
The economy expanded last quarter after a pickup in manufacturing at the end of the year, with the nation’s government predicting an improvement in overseas demand this year amid a global recovery. Singapore’s GDP rose an annualized 6.1 percent in the three months through December last year from the previous quarter, when it climbed a revised 0.3 percent, The trade ministry said in a statement yesterday. That compared with an estimate of a 2.7 percent contraction and the median in a Bloomberg News survey of 12 analysts for a 0.8 percent gain. GDP increased 5.5 percent last quarter from a year earlier, yesterday’s report showed. The economy grew a revised 4.1 percent last year and the government reiterated its forecast for between 2 percent and 4 percent growth this year.
Britain, China in yuan talks
Britain is holding talks with China to designate a London clearing bank for the yuan as it tries to become the world’s leading center for trading the currency, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said yesterday. China’s currency is not freely convertible, but the Chinese government is gradually moving toward full convertibility so that the unit might one day rival the US dollar. Speaking to the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the British finance minister said London had become the center of yuan trading in the West. “Ultimately, what we all want to see is RMB [yuan] being used more and more as a currency of choice in the world,” Osborne said. “So I can tell you today that the UK and Chinese governments are in active discussions about the appointment of a RMB-clearing bank in London,” he said.
Gap to raise wages in US
Gap Inc, the owner of Old Navy, Banana Republic and its namesake apparel chain, is raising its hourly pay for US employees to US$9 this year and to US$10 next year, saying it wants to “do more than sell clothes.” The increased wages will benefit about 65,000 store employees by next year, the San Francisco-based company said on Wednesday in a statement. Chief executive Glenn Murphy announced the plan during an employee conference call. Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the largest private employer in the US, said on Wednesday that it is assessing an increase in the US’ federal minimum wage. The company is weighing the impact of additional payroll costs against possibly attracting more consumer dollars at its stores, company spokesman David Tovar said.