Business briefs: Amazon raises threshold for free shipping

  • Updated: October 22, 2013 - 8:05 PM

Amazon raises threshold for free shipping

Amazon.com Inc. raised the minimum order price to get free shipping by $10, to $35, a move that should reduce its massive shipping costs and could drive more customers to its Amazon Prime service. In a blog post, the company noted the increase was the first change in the free-shipping offer in more than a decade. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to say what percentage of its orders ship for free using its Super Saver Shipping offer. The announcement comes two days before Amazon releases its quarterly results, when analysts often press for information about efforts to boost profits. It also comes just as the holiday shopping season begins, when Amazon racks up its biggest sales, but also its biggest shipping expenses.

Construction spending rose again in August

Construction spending in the U.S. rose in August for a fifth consecutive month, propelled by the strongest outlays on homebuilding in five years. Expenditures were up 0.6 percent to a $915.1 billion annual rate following a revised 1.4 percent increase in July that was larger than previously estimated, the Commerce Department reported. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.4 percent increase. Gains in commercial and residential construction are boosting the economic expansion even as rising interest rates and tight land inventories temper growth. In addition, federal outlays dropped to the lowest level in five years, showing government budget cuts will hold the industry back.

Icahn unloads more than half of Netflix stake

Billionaire Carl Icahn said he sold 2.99 million shares of Netflix Inc., citing a 457 percent rise in the stock since his original investment in November 2012. The shares fell in after-hours trading. After the sale, Icahn, 77, still holds 2.67 million shares, or a 4.5 percent stake in Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix, according to a regulatory filing. The investor said his cost for the stock was $58 a share, suggesting a gain of almost $800 million from the sales. Icahn’s sale of 2.4 million shares Tuesday contributed to a 9.2 percent drop in Netflix’s share price.

Goldman Sachs ordered to pay legal bills

A federal judge has ruled that Goldman Sachs must pay the legal fees of a former computer programmer accused of stealing code from the bank, a decision that wades into a hot-button issue as more and more Wall Street employees find themselves ensnared in lawsuits and investigations. Judge Kevin McNulty of U.S. District Court in New Jersey said Goldman had a legal obligation to pay certain lawyer bills for the former Goldman programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, because he was an officer of the bank during the time in question.

RadioShack posts loss but gains financing

RadioShack posted a seventh straight quarterly net loss and said it received commitments for $835 million in new five-year financing to boost liquidity amid a turnaround effort. The consumer-electronics retailer’s net loss widened to $112.4 million, or $1.11 a share, in the three months through Sept. 30, trailing the average loss of 37 cents anticipated by analysts. RadioShack said that it ended the fiscal third quarter with total liquidity of $613 million. The retailer’s sales have declined as it lost customers to Best Buy Co. and Amazon.com Inc.

Gates buys stake in Spanish builder FCC

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has purchased a 6 percent stake in the Spanish builder Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, known as FCC, becoming the latest investor to make a bet on the recovery of the Spanish economy. An entity controlled by Gates, one of the world’s richest men and the software giant’s chairman, paid 113.5 million euros, or $155.2 million, for a stake in the Barcelona-based FCC, the company said.

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