Web ad spending rises
US Internet ad spending rose 27 percent last year to US$25.5 billion, research firm IDC said on Monday in a report that showed Google losing market share for the first time in two years. The survey showed a 28 percent gain in the fourth quarter alone to US$7.3 billion, IDC said. IDC also found that Google's net US market share declined for the first time in two years because of slower growth in domestic fourth-quarter sales. The market leader's net US Internet advertising market share was down 0.5 percentage points to 23.7 percent last quarter.
Germany sets surplus record
Manufacturing powerhouse Germany posted a record trade surplus last year, as exports rose even faster than imports. The new high was achieved despite disappointing data for December. Both exports and imports reached their highest levels ever last year, the Federal Statistics Office said on Monday, although in December the trade surplus nearly halved. Last year, the trade surplus was 198.8 billion euros (US$288.5 billion), up from 159 billion euros in 2006. Exports last year rose 8.5 percent to 969.1 billion euros, while imports amounted to 770.4 billion euros, a 5 percent rise over 2006.
Store drops Chinese goods
Trader Joe's will stop offering some Chinese-grown food products because of customer concerns about safety, the store chain announced on Monday. Garlic, frozen organic spinach and other "single ingredient" food items from China will be phased out by April 1, although products that include ingredients from both China and other sources will remain. The company believes the foods are safe, but "we will continue to source products from other regions until our customers feel as confident as we do about the quality and safety of Chinese products," Trader Joe spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said in a statement.
Harbinger raises stake
A hedge fund seeking to name four directors to the board of the New York Times Co disclosed on Monday that it had increased its stake in the publishing company to nearly 10 percent from 5 percent. Harbinger Capital Partners and several related entities now own 9.96 percent of the Times' publicly traded Class A shares, up from the 4.9 percent stake it disclosed late last month. The company is working together with Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, to try and effect changes the publishing company.
Greenback loses steam
The US dollar slipped against most major currencies on Monday as traders awaited economic reports to be released in Europe this week. The euro was worth US$1.4518 in late New York trading, slightly more than the US$1.4506 the 15 nation currency was worth late on Friday. The ZEW investment survey, which measures German investor confidence, was expected to reflect pessimism about the German economic outlook as it was set for release yesterday. The pound rose to US$1.9502 from US$1.9455 ahead of two sets of national inflation data: the consumer price index out yesterday and Britain's quarterly inflation report released today.