PC shipments down 6.4%
Global PC shipments fell 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter — the first holiday-period slump since 2001 — as consumers and retailers shifted to tablets and smartphones, researcher IDC said on Thursday. Worldwide PC shipments declined 3.2 percent for all of last year, dragged down by lackluster holiday season demand, according to Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC. In 2011, PC shipments rose 1.7 percent. Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) continued to hold the top spot in shipments worldwide for the fourth quarter and the year, IDC said. HP has 17 percent of worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter, followed by Lenovo Group (聯想) with 16 percent and Dell Inc with 11 percent.
India’s output slips 0.1%
India’s industrial output dipped marginally by 0.1 percent in November from a year ago, government data showed yesterday, raising hopes that the central bank would soon cut interest rates to boost sluggish growth. The figure matched market expectations, but was well below the previous month’s 8.3 percent growth and underlines the challenges the government faces as it seeks to kickstart the economy. Manufacturing output, which accounts for three-quarters of the index of industrial production, rose just 0.3 percent, while capital goods — such as factory plant equipment — plunged 7.7 percent, the data showed.
Seoul maintains key rate
South Korea’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged for a third straight month yesterday, leaving the benchmark seven-day repo rate at 2.75 percent, following cuts in July and October. In a separate statement, the bank cut its growth forecast for this year to 2.8 percent, compared with the 3.2 percent it predicted in October, while growth next year was estimated at 3.8 percent. The bank cited persistent uncertainties such as the eurozone debt crisis and fiscal problems in the US for its decision.
Ford to double dividends
Ford Motor Co shares jumped 2.4 percent on Thursday after the US auto giant said it would double its dividend for this year due to the success of its restructuring plan, called the “One Ford Plan.” “Our ability to double our dividend in one year is a testament to our One Ford plan, which has enabled us to maintain a solid balance sheet, while at the same time growing our business to provide our shareholders with more return on their investments,” Ford chief financial officer Bob Shanks said. Ford’s most recent quarterly earnings came in at US$1.6 billion, better than expected. The company’s US sales last year rose 5 percent from 2011 to nearly 2.3 million vehicles.
Uniqlo raises profit forecast
Fast Retailing Co, Asia’s largest apparel retailer, climbed to a record in Tokyo trading after boosting its annual profit forecast on higher overseas sales of its Uniqlo clothing brand. The stock rose 4.8 percent to close at ￥23,640 yesterday in Tokyo. Net income will probably be ￥87 billion (US$987 million) for the year ending August, higher than its previous forecast of ￥84.5 billion, the Yamaguchi, Japan-based company said in a statement on Thursday. First-quarter net income rose 24 percent to ￥38.5 billion, the company said. Overseas sales jumped 51 percent for the three months ended November, aided by expansion in China, South Korea and Taiwan.