Sun, Nov 29, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

RETAIL

Record online holiday sales

Nearly 136 million shoppers are expected to flock to US sales over the four-day Black Friday holiday weekend, both in stores and online, the National Retail Federation said. “Reports of long lines outside stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday were matched by reports of record-breaking online sales,” federation president and chief executive Matthew Shay said on Friday. The federation estimates that 135.8 million people would be shopping over the weekend, a 1.6 percent increase from last year.

BANKING

Banker avoids Swiss prison

Herve Falciani, a former bank employee who took client data from HSBC Holdings PLC’s Geneva unit, was found guilty of corporate espionage and given a five-year prison sentence by a Swiss court in absentia, making it unlikely he will ever spend time inside a prison in the country. The Frenchman stayed out of Switzerland during the trial to avoid the risk of arrest, preferring to stay in France, a country which does not extradite its citizens. The decision was read out on Friday at the Federal Criminal Court by Judge David Glassey, who criticized the lengths that Falciani went to in his attempts to profit from the data.

INSURANCE

Dutch to sell ASR in IPO

The Dutch government is planning to sell off state-owned insurance company ASR, Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Friday. One of the largest insurers in the Netherlands, the company was created out of the break-up of the Belgian-Dutch Fortis group in the 2008 economic crisis and acquired for 3.65 billion euros (US$3.87 billion) by the Dutch state. The government is eyeing an initial public offering for ASR on the Amsterdam stock exchange, Dijsselbloem said.

ECONOMY

German confidence slumps

A closely watched survey shows German consumers are losing confidence amid growing concerns of an economic slump. The GfK research group said on Friday its forward-looking consumer climate index dropped for the fourth month in a row to 9.3 points for next month, from 9.4 this month. GfK says consumers’ willingness to buy rose, but that was offset by drops in both their income and economic expectations.

ECONOMY

UK’s growth slowed in Q3

The UK’s economic growth slowed in the third quarter, official data confirmed on Friday. GDP expanded by 0.5 percent between July and September, the Office for National Statistics said in a second estimate, in line with market expectations. That was unchanged from the initial estimate and followed second-quarter growth of 0.7 percent.

ECONOMY

Greek economy shrank more

The Greek state statistics agency on Friday drastically revised downwards the economy’s third-quarter contraction to 0.9 percent, from 0.5 percent previously. “These differences are on account of using new data, not available at the time of the flash estimate,” the ELSTAT agency said, citing a mixture of September balance of payments data, service turnover and jobless figures as factors for the downturn. Greek output fell by 1.1 percent from the third quarter of last year, Elstat said.

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