Inflation remains under control, index shows
U.S. consumer prices stayed flat in November, held down by falling gas prices. Inflation remains low across the broader economy, giving the Federal Reserve latitude to continue its extraordinary stimulus program. The consumer price index was unchanged last month, after dropping 0.1 percent in October, the Labor Department said. Gas prices declined 1.6 percent in November to keep overall prices down. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have risen just 1.2 percent. That’s well below the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target. Excluding volatile energy and food costs, core prices rose 0.2 percent in November from October and just 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.
CEO Whitman no longer at a discount for HP
Hewlett-Packard Co. is giving CEO Meg Whitman a huge pay raise as she enters the third year of her attempt to turn around the slumping personal computer and printer maker. Regulatory documents disclose that Whitman’s annual salary is soaring to $1.5 million from $1. The raise is retroactive to Nov. 1, the start of HP’s fiscal year. Whitman is a billionaire who had agreed to limit her salary to $1 annually when HP hired her as CEO in September 2011. The sacrifice came as HP prepared to eliminate nearly 30,000 jobs to offset a drop in revenue from declining PC sales amid a shift to mobile computers.
Glaxo to stop paying doctors promotional fees
British drug company GlaxoSmithKline said it would stop paying doctors to promote its products at speaking engagements and scrap individual sales targets, months after its ethics were challenged by a bribery scandal in China. The group announced sweeping changes to its marketing practices, which also included a halt to direct financial support to health care professionals to attend medical conferences. However, it left open the possibility of funding through grants. The practice of paying doctors to attend conferences or discuss treatments has undergone growing scrutiny for years in the United States, where drugmakers will be required to disclose financial relationships with care providers as part of the federal health care overhaul. Several have already started doing that.
Theater chain AMC prices its shares at $18
AMC Entertainment Holdings priced its initial public offering at $18 a share as the movie theater chain prepares for its premiere on the stock market. That price was at the low end of the company’s estimated price range and values AMC at roughly $1.7 billion. By contrast, its bigger rival, Regal Entertainment Group, is valued at $3 billion. AMC will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday under the ticker symbol AMC.
Japanese trade deficit up 35% from year ago
Japan’s trade deficit has ballooned 35 percent from a year ago as fuel imports have soared following the 2011 nuclear catastrophe. The government said the trade deficit for November totaled 1.29 trillion yen ($12.9 billion) compared with a deficit of 957 billion yen the same month in 2012. Imports grew 21 percent last month, even as exports improved 18 percent from a year ago. The sinking value of the yen is also weighing on Japan. A weak yen is a boon for exporters but adds to the fuel bill.
AT&T to sell Connecticut unit to Frontier
AT&T Inc. agreed to sell its Connecticut landline unit, including Internet and TV services, to Frontier Communications Corp. for $2 billion, letting the company focus on the more lucrative wireless business. Frontier will get all of AT&T’s phone customers and U-verse television and broadband subscribers in the state, as well as satellite-TV users, the companies said in a statement. The move continues AT&T’s shift away from its roots as Ma Bell, the dominant provider of U.S. landline phone service.
FROM NEWS SERVICES