- - Thursday, August 2, 2012

NEW YORK — Americans shoppers proved resilient in July, driving a key sales figure up at retailers across the country, despite persistent worry about jobs and the global economy.

Results came in better than expected for many retailers, helped by hot weather and summer clearance sales, an encouraging sign as the back-to-school season, the second-biggest shopping season behind the holidays, kicks off.

A preliminary tally by the International Council of Shopping Centers of 20 retailers found revenue in stores open at least a year rose 4.6 percent in July, higher than the 3 percent to 3.5 percent the council expected.

Summer clothing purchases drove the increase. The sales figure rose 9.2 percent for clothing, the largest monthly increase since April 2011, according to the ICSC.

STOCKS

Computer glitch costs Knight Capital $440 million

NEW YORK — It’s turning out to be one costly glitch.

A technical problem that briefly threw dozens of stocks into chaos Wednesday will cost Knight Capital Group $440 million, the trading firm said Thursday. Knight’s own stock plunged for a second day, erasing 75 percent of its value in two days. The company also said it is pursuing ways to raise money to fund the expense, raising questions about the firm’s viability. And several financial institutions announced they had stopped trading with Knight, at least temporarily.

Knight’s embattled CEO Thomas Joyce appeared publicly for the first time Thursday to defend his firm in the aftermath of the trading disaster.

“You cannot keep people from doing stupid things,” Mr. Joyce said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “That is what happens when you have a culture of risk.”

In the two days since the glitch occurred, Knight’s stock has fallen to $2.58 from $10.33 on Tuesday. Knight takes orders from brokers such as TD Ameritrade and routes them to the exchanges where shares are traded. By late Thursday, TD said it had temporarily stopped routing orders through Knight, and media outlets were reporting that several others had done the same.

Knight Capital Group said the problem was triggered when it installed new trading software, which resulted in the company sending numerous erroneous orders in 140 stocks listed in the New York Stock Exchange.

HEALTH

Report: Generic drugs saved $193 billion in 2011

The growing use of generic medicines has reduced U.S. health care spending by more than $1 trillion in the past decade.

That is the conclusion of an industry-funded study that finds use of generic prescription drugs saved about $193 billion last year alone.

The report from the Generic Pharmaceutical Association finds that using inexpensive generic versions of pricier brand-name prescription drugs now saves the country about $1 billion every other day.

Last year, nearly 80 percent of the 4 billion prescriptions dispensed in this country were generic drugs. Because of their cheaper prices, those drugs accounted for just 27 percent of total U.S. spending on prescription medicines.

The report notes that drugs for heart conditions and central nervous system disorders such as depression and convulsions account for 57 percent of the annual savings.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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