The top business news from The Associated Press for the morning of Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008:
EU: Euro economy shrinks in second quarter
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Euro-zone growth braked sharply in the second quarter as major economies Germany, France and Italy shrank, EU statistics showed Thursday, with high fuel and food prices holding back consumer spending. Growth in the 15 economies that share the euro currency contracted by 0.2 percent from the first quarter, expanding just 1.5 percent from the same period a year ago, the EU statistical agency Eurostat said in a first estimate that it may change at a later date.
Oil rises to near $117 on falling inventories
SINGAPORE (AP) _ Oil prices rose for a second day Thursday in Asia, approaching $117 a barrel after U.S. gasoline supplies fell more than expected in a weekly government report. Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 75 cents to $116.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midafternoon in Singapore. The contract jumped $2.99 overnight to settle at $116 a barrel.
Intel PCs to wake up for phone calls
NEW YORK (AP) _ Intel Corp. is unveiling new technology that will let computers wake up from their power-saving sleep state when they receive a phone call over the Internet. Current computers have to be fully on to receive a call, making them impractical and energy-wasters as replacements for the telephone.
Paula Wagner leaving UA as chief executive
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Tom Cruise’s producing partner Paula Wagner said Wednesday she will leave her job as chief executive of United Artists to produce projects independently. Wagner will continue to co-own the studio with Cruise and “be attached to UA’s most exciting film properties,” UA and its parent company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. added in a joint statement.
Analyst: Cablevision not seeking acquisitions
Cablevision Systems Corp. executives met with major shareholders this week to talk about strategic options for the company, but while many alternatives remain open they are not seeking to go private again or mount another major acquisition, an analyst said. Chris Marangi, a cable and entertainment analyst for Gabelli & Co. who was involved in the discussions, said one new thing Cablevision is considering is managing the operations of other cable systems for a fee.
Korean Air records 2Q net loss on fuel, currency
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Korean Air Lines Co. posted a second-quarter net loss amid soaring fuel costs and a weak South Korean currency, it said Thursday. Korean Air, South Korea’s biggest airline and the world’s largest international cargo carrier, recorded a net loss of 289 billion won ($279 million) in the three months ended June 30, the company said in a statement. It lost 214.4 billion won in the same period a year ago. The most recent loss was the airline’s third straight on a quarterly basis.
InBev 2Q profit climbs 8.6 percent on tax savings
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Brewer InBev SA’s second-quarter profit climbed 8.6 percent despite flat sales and higher costs as it paid less tax. InBev made 542 million euros ($808 million) for the three months ending June 2008, up from from 499 million ($680 million at earlier exchange rate) for the same period in 2007.
Scandinavian SAS swings to 2Q loss; more job cuts
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Scandinavian airline SAS AB reported a second-quarter loss Thursday because of high fuel costs and weaker demand, and warned of further job cuts and fleet reductions. The Stockholm-based carrier said that net loss in the three months through June 30 was 411 million kronor ($70 million), down from a net profit of 607 million kronor in the same period in 2007.
Wal-Mart to make $1 billion expansion in Brazil
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced on Wednesday that it will invest the equivalent of at least $1 billion in Brazil to expand its operations in Latin America’s biggest country. The announcement was made in a statement issued shortly after Craig Herkert, president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s America’s division, and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met in the capital city, Brasilia.
Report: US cotton production expected to drop
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ U.S. cotton production is expected to drop to 13.8 million bales, the lowest level since 1989, after farmers planted fewer acres in favor of higher-priced crops and severe weather took a toll. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a report released Tuesday, said planted acreage has declined from 10.8 million acres in 2007 to 9.2 million this year. The decline has been further compounded by Texas growers, affected by drought and Hurricane Dolly, abandoning a huge chunk of their crop, 1.3 million acres.
TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese shares fell Thursday for the third straight session, as news of the country’s largest corporate failure this year dampened investor sentiment. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 66.25 points, or 0.51 percent, to 12,956.80, closing under the 13,000-level for the first time since Aug. 5. The broader Topix index lost 0.61 percent to 1,238.9.
TOKYO (AP) _ In currency trading Thursday, the dollar gained slightly to 109.41 yen from 109.18 yen late Wednesday.
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