Business News in Brief
Wall Street caution
US markets fell modestly last Thursday. The market has been treading water since a New Year's rally ran out of steam two weeks ago. The Dow Jones ended the day 43 points (0.3 per cent) down at 13,943. Shares in US Airways jumped 3.8 per cent as it finalises negotiations to merge with rival American Airlines to create the world's biggest airline. News Corp fell 2.8 per cent after Rupert Murdoch's media empire cut its earnings forecast last week.
COMMENTS by the European Central Bank (ECB) chief on the euro's recent strength have prompted it to fall more than a cent against the dollar and a penny against the pound. Mario Draghi said its rise affected prices and economic growth, and was something the ECB was monitoring. His remarks, which came after the ECB's monthly interest rate meeting, saw the euro fall to 85.3p and $US1.34 ($F2.36). The ECB kept its interest rate unchanged at 0.75 per cent, as expected. Many analysts do not expect the ECB to alter rates from their current record low until next year at the earliest.
Activist sues Apple
AN activist shareholder is demanding the computer giant Apple share out more of its $US137billion ($F241.7b) cash pile to its investors. Apple's cash pile has grown to that size from $US98b ($F172.9b) last March. US hedge fund manager, David Einhorn, who is behind the unusual move, told the television channel CNBC that Apple had a "Depression-era" mentality, which gave it a tendency to hoard cash and play safe. Apple called the move "misguided". The company has a number of fights on its hands already. Although it is dominant in both smartphones and tablet computers, competition is hotting up and its share price is falling.
LinkedIn shares up
BUSINESS-FOCUSED social networking website LinkedIn's quarterly profits were double expectations, sending shares up 10 per cent in after hours' trading. Profits for the fourth quarter were $US40.2million ($F70.9m), twice the amount expected by watchers of the company. The rise came as increasing numbers of job seekers and recruiters signed up to get connected taking the numbers registered to more than 200 million. Linkedin also said its future prospects were bright.