SHARES in technology giant Apple have fallen by more than 3 per cent in early trading after reports suggested orders for its iPhone 5 had been lower than expected. Apple is reported to have halved its orders for the display panel featured on the phone for the January to March quarter, according to the Nikkei Japanese news service. The reports have heightened fears that demand for Apple's iPhones had fallen in the wake of increased competition. There are fears that Apple is struggling to compete with Asian rivals, including South Korean based firm Samsung Electronics. Samsung has already overtaken Apple as the world's largest smartphone vendor by market share.
AMERICA is "not a deadbeat nation", US President Barack Obama has said, as he warned Republicans unconditionally to approve a rise in the US debt ceiling. At a White House news conference, he said it would be "absurd" to use the borrowing limit as a negotiating chip. But Republican House Speaker John Boehner said spending cuts should accompany a federal debt ceiling rise. The US is expected to hit its $US16.4tn ($F28.94tn) borrowing limit by February unless lawmakers act. Monday's press conference came a week before the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC that will begin Mr Obama's second term.
VOLKSWAGEN says its group sales hit a record high last year despite slowing sales in Western Europe. The German carmaker sold 9.07 million cars last year, up 11 per cent from 2011. Sales in North America and Asia-Pacific rose 26.2 per cent and 23.3 per cent respectively, helping to offset a 6.5 per cent drop in sales in Western Europe, excluding Germany where sales were up 1.9 per cent.
Dismissal rate high
DISMISSALS and suspensions in the UK financial services sector hit a five-year high in 2012, according the Financial Services Authority. Some 1373 workers were sacked for disciplinary reasons, up 76 per cent from 2011. The total number of job losses in the sector including redundancies, resignations and retirements — was also at a five-year high of 177,697. The data was obtained by law firm Pinsent Masons under a freedom of information request.