World Business Quick Take


Thu, Nov 06, 2014 - Page 15


Trade deficit widens

The trade deficit unexpectedly widened in September as exports hit a five-month low, a sign that slowing global demand could undercut economic growth in the fourth quarter. The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that the trade gap increased 7.6 percent to US$43.03 billion, ending four straight months in which the deficit had narrowed. September’s shortfall was bigger than the US$38.1 billion gap the government had assumed in is estimate of third-quarter GDP last week, when it said the economy expanded at a 3.5 percent annual rate, with trade adding 1.3 percentage points.


Bank markets new bonds

Bank of China Ltd (中國銀行) is marketing a bond that complies with new global banking regulations known as Basel III to US investors in a first for a Chinese lender. The nation’s fourth-largest bank is offering 10-year subordinated 144A notes to yield 300 basis points over similar-maturity treasuries, according to people familiar with the matter. It aims to sell about US$3 billion of the securities, the people said.


Facebook reports requests

Facebook Inc said requests by governments for user information rose by about a quarter in the first half of this year over the second half of last year. In the first six months, governments around the world made 34,946 requests for data. During the same time, the amount of content restricted because of local laws increased about 19 percent. “We’re aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized,” the company said on Tuesday.


Alstom sales approved

Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron yesterday authorized the sale of most of Alstom’s energy assets to US group General Electric, clearing the way for a deal worth almost US$17 billion. General Electric in June won a fierce two-month battle to buy most of Alstom’s energy assets, which represent about 70 percent of the conglomerate’s revenues, for US$16.9 billion. A shareholders’ general meeting will be held on Dec. 19 on the deal, Alstom said.


Alibaba profit rises 15%

Chinese online commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) met Wall Street expectations on Tuesday in its first quarterly report after completing the world’s biggest stock offering, propelling its stock to record territory. Alibaba said its adjusted third-quarter net profit rose by 15 percent to US$1.1 billion. However, using standard accounting practices that include depreciation and one-time costs, profits fell 39 percent to US$494 million. Revenue jumped 53.7 percent from the same quarter last year to US$2.7 billion.


Retailer raises forecast

Marks & Spencer Group PLC raised its forecast for full-year profitability, cushioning the blow of the steepest quarterly decline in non-food sales since Marc Bolland took the helm more than four years ago. Gross margin in the general-merchandise division will widen by 1.5 to 2 percentage points, the UK’s biggest clothing retailer said yesterday. It had previously predicted an increase of 1 percentage point.