Berlin must step up: Soros
The EU could be destroyed by the “nightmare” euro crisis and Germany needs to take the responsibility of saving the currency, billionaire fund manager George Soros said on Monday. Soros, who made his mark as an investor on a big bet against the British pound in 1992, said the other alternative is for Germany — the eurozone’s biggest economy — to simply leave the 17-member currency bloc. The crisis “is pushing the EU into a lasting depression and it is entirely self-created,” the chairman of Soros Fund Management said.
Spanish banks downgraded
Standard & Poor’s ratings agency cut the credit ratings of seven Spanish banks, including the two largest, Santander and BBVA, after having downgraded Spain’s sovereign debt. Banks that suffered in the downgrade late yesterday were Santander, BBVA, Banesto, Banco Popular, Bankia-BFA, Banco Sabadell and CaixaBank, the New York-based ratings agency said in a statement. Standard & Poor’s axed Spain’s sovereign credit rating by two notches on Wednesday last week, leaving its bonds just one level above junk bond status.
LVMH sees profit boom
French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton saw its revenue increase strongly in the third quarter, driven by its retail operations in developing countries. The company behind Louis Vuitton luggage and the Givenchy fashion label said on Monday that sales were up 15 percent to 6.9 billion euros (US$8.95 billion) for the period between July and last month. All of its business groups saw gains in the third quarter. Sales in LVMH’s selective retailing business, which includes luxury malls and the Sephora cosmetic superstores, rose 20 percent. The company said that selective retailing was making especially strong gains in China and Russia.
Cancer drug boosts Roche
Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG on Tuesday reported a 7 percent increase in sales of its pharmaceutical products for the first nine months of the year, powered by demand for its cancer drugs. The Basel, Switzerland-based company, helped by sales of established and new cancer drugs and recent cost-cutting drives, said its pharmaceutical division’s sales over the three quarters rose to 26.2 billion Swiss francs (US$28.08 billion), up from SF24.4 billion in the same time period last year.
Amazon to hire thousands
Amazon.com Inc says it is hiring 50,000 temporary workers at order-fulfilment centers across the US this holiday season. The Seattle-based online retailer says it expects “thousands” of those it hires to stay on full time. Full-time workers get stock grants and benefits. The company says its full-time employees make 30 percent more than traditional retail employees. It says stock grants have added an average 9 percent to base pay over the past five years.
Apple hires Amazon exec
Apple Inc hired Amazon.com Inc executive William Stasior to lead its Siri voice-recognition software group. Stasior, who had run a unit at Amazon handling search and related advertising, will head the group that is building the voice-activated personal assistant that Apple introduced on its mobile devices last year, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said.