Current account surplus grows
The eurozone’s current account surplus widened to 17.4 billion euros (US$23.6 billion) in August from 15.5 billion euros in July, European Central Bank data showed yesterday. The current account on the balance of payments is a closely tracked indicator of the ability of a country or area to pay its way in the world. The ECB revised the July figure downwards from its previously announced 16.9 billion euros. Over the 12 months to August, the current account showed a surplus of 192.8 billion euros, compared to 88.2 billion euros for the same period a year earlier.
EU, Canada ink trade pact
An EU trade spokesman said on Wednesday the EU hopes to conclude a free-trade deal with Canada in the coming days. “Discussions are indeed continuing at the highest level between the EU and Canada towards a comprehensive free-trade deal (CETA) — with the hope to conclude the negotiations in the coming days,” EU Trade spokesman John Clancy told reporters in an e-mail. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also said on Wednesday his country will “soon” complete negotiations.
IBM earnings up year-on-year
IBM said on Wednesday that it earned US$4.04 billion, or US$3.68 per share, in the third quarter, up from US$3.82 billion, or US$3.33 per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time charges, the company earned US$3.99 per share, above expectations of US$3.96. Revenue dropped 4 percent to US$23.7 billion from US$24.7 billion. That fell short of the US$24.8 billion expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Adjusted for the effects of foreign currency exchange rates, the company said revenue fell 2 percent.
Carrefour quarterly sales fall
French big box retailer Carrefour saw its sales fall in the third quarter of the year, as the persistently poor economy in southern Europe stymies the company’s effort at a turnaround. The company said yesterday that revenue was 21.1 billion euros (US$28.6 billion) in the July to September quarter, down 1.3 percent at current exchange rates from the same quarter last year. France was a notable bright spot, with sales up at all store sizes and up 1.4 percent overall. Yet southern Europe continues to drag, particularly Italy.
Nestle adjusts 2012 sales
Swiss food and drink giant Nestle SA posted a modest 4 percent increase yesterday in sales of dozens of its household name brand products for the first nine months of last year. The firm said it had sales of 68.4 billion Swiss francs (US$74.5 billion) through this month, up from a restated 65.7 billion Swiss francs during the same period last year. The world’s biggest food and drink company had previously reported its nine-month sales last year as 67.6 billion Swiss francs through September, up from 60.9 billion during the same period in 2011.
US profits better than forecast
Bank of America posted a better-than-expected profit for the third quarter on Wednesday, citing better credit quality and lower provisions for soured loans. The second-largest US bank by assets said it had net income of US$2.5 billion in the July to September period, up from US$340 million in the third quarter last year. Revenue rose 5.4 percent from the third quarter last year, to US$21.5 billion, short of expectations.