- Article by: The Associated Press
- Associated Press
- March 3, 2014 - 4:25 PM
Stocks fall as Ukraine tensions rise; Gold gains
NEW YORK (AP) — Global stocks fell sharply Monday on rising tension over Russia's military advance into Ukraine and the threat of sanctions by Western governments. Treasurys and gold prices rose as investors bought safer assets. The price of crude oil rose over concerns that Russian oil exports could be disrupted.
The tensions in the Ukraine outweighed positive reports on the U.S. economy. U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace in February as new orders and boosted their stockpiles.
March will be test of US auto demand
DETROIT (AP) — March is the month to watch for the U.S. auto industry.
Sales have been slower than expected so far this year. As the spring thaw begins, automakers will see if the slowdown was due to historic cold temperatures and snowfall — as many believe — or if there are deeper reasons for sagging demand.
Automakers entered 2014 expecting to sell more than 16 million cars and trucks for the first time since the recession. But so far, sales are on pace to hit around 15 million, which would be 600,000 less than last year. But some analysts believe sales will recover to reach 16.3 million for the year.
Bitcoin exchange looks into criminal complaint
TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo bitcoin exchange that filed for bankruptcy protection blamed theft through hacking for its losses Monday, and said it was looking into a criminal complaint.
In an announcement posted on the Mt. Gox exchange's website, CEO Mark Karpeles outlined the events that resulted in the company's insolvency and said there was a "high probability" theft was behind the disappearance of bitcoins.
He said Mt. Gox will try to resume business as a way of increasing repayments to its creditors.
Energy costs boosted US consumer spending in Jan.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans spent more in January, but the increase came from a surge in spending on heating bills during the harsh winter. Spending in areas such as autos and clothing declined.
Spending rose 0.4 percent in January after a 0.1 percent gain in December the Commerce Department said Monday. The December figure was revised down from a 0.4 percent increase.Income grew 0.3 percent in January after no increase in December.
Consumer spending is closely watched because it drives about 70 percent of economic activity.
US manufacturing boosted by orders and stockpiles
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing expanded more quickly last month as companies received more orders and boosted their stockpiles.
A measure of production fell to its lowest level in nearly five years, likely a casualty of severe winter weather. But the rise in orders raises the possibility that factory output will rebound in coming months, economists said.
The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose to 53.2 in February from 51.3 in January. Any reading above 50 signals growth and economists were encouraged by the increase in both new and backlogged orders.
US construction spending up 0.1 percent in January
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending showed a tiny increase in January as strength in housing helped to offset declines in nonresidential building and government projects.
Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in January, significantly slower than an upwardly revised 1.5 percent gain in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
Economists had expected the January weakness, believing that construction, like other parts of the economy, would be slowed by the unusually cold weather. However, the expectation is that builders will see better gains once spring and warmer weather arrive.
Men's Wearhouse, Jos. Bank signal they're talking
NEW YORK (AP) — Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. are moving a bit closer to a possible combination, announcing that they are exchanging certain confidential information with each other.
Men's Wearhouse Inc. said Monday that it's also received a draft merger agreement from Jos. A. Bank.
The news comes days after Jos. A. Bank rejected a $63.40 acquisition offer from Men's Wearhouse. The retailer has said it may raise the bid to $65 per share, if some conditions are met.
Jos. A. Bank may have nixed the $63.50 per share offer, but it did say Thursday that it was willing to meet with Men's Wearhouse to discuss the higher bid.
Gates back on top of Forbes' billionaire rankings
NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is back on top of the list of the world's richest people after a four-year hiatus.
Forbes magazine announced its ranking of the world's billionaires Monday.
Gates, who led the list for 15 of the past 20 years, won the spot back from Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who had topped the list for the past four years. Gates' net worth is estimated at $76 billion; Slim Helu follows at $72 billion.
Forbes says a record 1,645 billionaires made the list this year, with an average net worth of $4.7 billion.
Buffett says economy continues to grow steadily
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Investor Warren Buffett says the economy continues the steady improvement that began in fall of 2009 and he remains optimistic despite Russia's advance into Ukraine.
Buffett appeared on the business cable channel CNBC Monday morning after releasing an upbeat annual letter to his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders over the weekend. Buffett is chairman and CEO of the Omaha, Neb., conglomerate.
Buffett said the reports he gets from Berkshire's 80-odd subsidiaries in a variety of industries show that the economy is growing at a moderate rate, despite swings in investors' mood.
Cold weather heats up sales for some companies
NEW YORK (AP) — The harsh winter has been rough for some businesses, but for a lucky few, the frigid weather means more cold, hard cash.
Ace Hardware is having its best winter in more than a decade for snow blower and shovel sales. Waterproof boots are on a long backorder at clothing maker L.L. Bean. And more people are staying home and ordering food and booze from Delivery.com.
Only 32 winters have been colder in the last 119 years, according to Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Climatic Data Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.
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