Manufacturing punches US economy in the face

In what felt like an unexpected slap, US factory production shrank in November, the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index falling to 49.5 (50 marks the dividing line between expansion and contraction) from 51.7 in October instead of the expected 51.4. It’s the biggest contraction since July 2009, a clear sign of fiscal cliff angst.

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US Thanksgiving in figures: turkey, crazy sales and fiscal cliff

A country divided about economic uncertainties and foreign affairs issues is indulging in oversized family dinners this Thursday. Thanksgiving Day revives the Pilgrims’ legacy of the XVII century, the feast that became national holiday on 1863 thanks to President Lincoln. And it is also considered the Super Bowl of the big boys of retail.


Drought’s billionaire impact

Food prices have spiked so high in August that many people around the developing world are having troubles to feed themselves. In the U.S. meat has become a luxury for many and the Department of Agriculture expects beef and veal prices to rise as much as 4.5 percent this year, and as much as 5 percent in 2013. Livestock farmers are hurting and the pork industry is losing millions. The…

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Who pays the price in the smartphone market fight

NEW YORK | It is a battle that started about two years ago. Samsung and Apple’s endless dispute over intellectual property arrives to court this Monday in California. Together the two companies account for more than 50 percent of all the world’s smartphone sales. A jury will have to determine if any of them has infringed copyright laws against the other. On one side of the ring, Apple, that filed…


Microsoft and B&N team up to win worldwide ebook battle

NEW YORK | Microsoft entered the battle for the e-readers this week thanks to a strategic partnership with Barnes & Noble. Their alliance, dubbed as NewCo, gives Windows creator a 17.6 percent equity stake for a $300 million investment and values B&N’s remaining 82.4% stake at $1.4 billion.  According to Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Fassler, the deal is a “game-changer.” “The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and…


US GDP in 1Q12, seriously injured

By Tania Suárez, in Madrid | Wall Street has been weighed down by a worse than expected purchasing managers index of manufacturing sectors or manufacturing ISM (Dow Jones: +0,33%; S&P 500: +0,33%; Nasdaq: +0,39%), which has disappointed both in its final reading and in its composition. Furthermore, the weak data of personal earnings and expenses in American families cast doubts regarding 1Q12 consumption. In fact, experts at Barclays point out: “we…

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Special Labour Reform | The US, UK media (almost) muted response

NEW YORK, LONDON | If one of the intentions of the Spanish labour reform announced this Friday was to create headlines –like Mario Monti’s Salva Italia plan did– and calm the international money markets assuring that Spain was on the right track to make labour market more flexible, it miserably failed. Last Friday, when the ‘very aggressive’ labour revamp was announced, the major business networks, the ones that money makers…

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The last major US airline files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK | It used to be the world’s largest airline, a ‘dream of stars and stripes,’ the only big carrier that had succeded to avoid bankrupt. Yet now it has gone broke. American Airlines and its parent company AMR on Tuesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York, in an effort to cut labor costs, airport agreements and airplane leases to bring them in line with the…

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Buffett, the socialist

You’ve certainly read by now Warren Buffet’s op-ed column in The New York Times “Stopping to coddle the super-rich”. Mr Buffett talked about raising the tax rate to the “rich” and “super-rich” in an effort to reduce the huge deficit in the US. While in Europe some members of the wealthy elite –like Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive of the French advertising firm Publicis or multimillionaire chairman of Ferrari…