Google overtakes Microsoft
Google soared past Microsoft in terms of market value on Monday to become the second-richest firm in the tech world behind Apple. Google shares gained 0.96 percent to end at US$761.78, giving the Internet giant a market capitalization of US$249.1 billion. Microsoft meanwhile fell 0.91 percent to US$29.49, translating into a market worth of US$247.2 billion. Apple shed 1.16 percent to US$659.39, meaning its market cap is just above US$618 billion.
Kingfisher grounds flights
Kingfisher Airlines has grounded flights for three days after a violent strike over unpaid wages at the cash-strapped carrier. The company said late on Monday that it was forced to declare a lockout after “unabated incidents of violence, criminal intimidation, assault” by disgruntled employees who have been intimidating their colleagues. Flights would be halted through tomorrow. Indian Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has warned Kingfisher over safety compliance since its engineers are on strike and said that the company must deploy at least five aircraft in its fleet in order to maintain its license, the Press Trust of India reported.
S&P warns over iron prices
Standard & Poor’s said yesterday that it saw little improvement in iron ore prices in the near term and warned that smaller single-commodity miners could see their ratings slip. S&P said a slowdown in China and sluggishness in Europe had seen iron ore prices dive from their peak of more than US$180 per tonne to below US$90 per tonne in the past two months. Prices had rebounded to between US$100 and US$110, but S&P said it “doesn’t expect iron ore prices to climb much further in the near term” and warned that “substantially debt-laden” miners could come under pressure.
The number of people registered as unemployed rose by a little under 80,000 last month as the summer tourism season came to an end. The Labor Ministry says the total number of people registered as jobless is now 4.71 million. The country is in its second recession in three years with an overall unemployment rate of nearly 25 percent. It is debating whether to seek a bailout for its economy similar to those already granted to Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Focus on economic growth
The central bank said yesterday it would focus its monetary policy on boosting economic growth, raising prospects of an interest rate cut as new data pointed to a deepening manufacturing slump. The Bank of Korea “plans to operate the rate policy to ensure that the economy recovers its potential level of growth,” the bank said in its biannual monetary policy report. Inflation accelerated to 2 percent last month, but remained below the central bank’s 3 percent target ceiling, paving the way for a rate cut as early as next week, analysts said.
Manufacturing picks up
Manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders and more jobs. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said on Monday that its index of factory activity rose to 51.5. That is up from 49.6 in August. A reading above 50 signals growth. The index had been below that threshold from June through August.