China factory indexes show more weakness
Chinese manufacturing showed further signs of weakness in August, adding to evidence of an inexorable slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy. Two factory activity indexes released Tuesday were at multiyear lows. An official manufacturing index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers fell to a three-year low of 49.7 in August from 50.0 in July, based on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion. The index compiled by the Chinese Federation for Logistics and Purchasing is at its lowest level since August 2012. A separate survey, the Caixin purchasing managers' index, fell to a six-year low of 47.3 from 47.8 in July. The number was slightly better than a preliminary reading.
Samsung aims new smartwatch at Apple
Samsung is juicing up its smartwatch with a circular face and more battery life than the Apple Watch, but it's unknown how many apps will be available for it. The limited selection of apps is one of the main challenges facing Samsung's smartwatches. They have been around for longer than the Apple Watch but haven't generated as much interest or sales. Samsung's newest, the Gear S2, faces competition not just from Apple but also from a variety of manufacturers using Google's Android Wear software. According to IDC, Apple was the No. 2 maker of wearable devices in the April-June quarter, with a 20 percent worldwide market share, behind the Fitbit and its fitness trackers at 24 percent. Samsung was fifth with 3.3 percent.
Growth slows in Chicago Fed region
The growth of the Midwest economy was less than normal in July, falling to its lowest level since October 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said. The Federal Reserve's Midwest Economy Index fell to –0.12 from a neutral reading in June. A neutral reading indicates the Midwest economy, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin, is expanding at historic levels. The index measures growth in nonfarm business activity based on manufacturing, construction and mining, services and consumer spending. The economy was affected by a slowdown in activity in most sectors, except service, which was up slightly.
Gas field to boost Egyptian economy
The discovery of a huge gas field off Egypt's coast promises to ease a long-running fuel crisis and boost the economy after years of unrest, but it will take years to develop and won't bring Gulf-style riches to the Arab world's most populous country, experts said. The new "supergiant" offshore Zohr field, revealed a day earlier by Italy's Eni SpA and billed as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea, could alleviate Egypt's need for gas imports in the coming years, when a booming population will lead to a spike in domestic demand. The latest discovery — potentially 30 trillion cubic feet of gas — represents about half of Egypt's current needs, and would bring in tax revenue when it comes online in some five years, said Angus Blair of investment advisory firm Signet.
Blue Bell resumes sales after contamination
Blue Bell ice cream is back. Blue Bell Creameries resumed selling its products at some locations, four months after the Texas-based retailer halted sales due to listeria contamination at some plants prompted health concerns that drew the regulatory scrutiny of federal and state officials. Blue Bell ice cream is available again at stores in the Houston and Austin areas, including in the company's hometown of Brenham, plus in parts of Alabama. Some retailers limited purchases as Blue Bell brought out flavors including homemade vanilla, Dutch chocolate, cookies 'n cream and a side-by-side blend of chocolate and vanilla.
Inflation in eurozone still flat last month
Inflation in the 19-nation eurozone was stable in August at an annual rate of 0.2 percent, an official report shows — another weak figure that may help push the European Central Bank toward doing more economic stimulus. The European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, said a large drop in energy prices made up for increases in the costs of food, alcohol and tobacco, services and industrial goods. The inflation figures remains far below the European Central Bank's aim for an annual rate of just under 2 percent.