Cyprus races against time to avoid a funding cut-off, an insider trading case that's all in the family, and young Americans driving sales of American cars top our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
“A Mess”: Cyprus Facing Monday Deadline for Funding Cut-Off
The European Central Bank is threatening to cut off funding to Cyprus if the beleaguered country is unable to raise billions of euros it needs to secure an international bailout before Monday. The Cypriot government sought powers on Thursday to impose capital controls to stem a flood of funds leaving the island if there is no deal before banks reopen following this week's shutdown, Reuters reports. The ECB ultimatum came as the island's leaders struggled to craft a "Plan B" to raise the 5.8-billion euro contribution demanded by the EU in return for a 10-billion euro bailout from the EU and IMF. Euro zone officials conceded during a conference call on Wednesday, which Cyprus refused even to join, that the situation was "in a mess".
Rengan Rajaratnam Follows in Brother's Footsteps
Rengan Rajaratnam, 42, was charged Thursday with insider trading on Thursday, nearly two years after his older brother, Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, was convicted of that crime. The charges are part of a broad government crackdown on insider trading. Rengan, prosecutors said, conspired with his brother to trade on non-public information concerning Clearwire Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in 2008, Reuters reports. The trades for which he was charged resulted in nearly $1.2 million of illegal profit, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, whose office has convicted 71 of 77 people charged with insider trading since October 2009.
Younger Americans Buy More American Cars
America car brands are gaining popularity among Americans ages 25 to 34, according to a study by R.L. Polk and Edmunds.com reported on Thursday by USA Today. Vehicles produced by General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler accounted for 36.8 percent of cars bought by younger Americans in 2012, up from 35.4 percent in 2008. The Korean brands of Hyundai and Kia are also increasing their market share and now account for 10 percent of cars bought by younger Americans, while the share of sales going to Japanese brand cars fell from 50.6 percent in 2008 to 42.9 percent in 2012.
Technology Stocks Drag Down Markets
Disappointing third-quarter earnings from Oracle and concerns over the Cyprus debt crisis drove down the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.6 percent yesterday, CNN Money reports. The S&P 500 Index fell 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq lost 1 percent. Both the Dow and S&P have gained 10 percent since November, and some analysts predict the market is due for a correction, according to CNN Money.
Global Movie Ticket Sales Rise 6 Percent
Worldwide movie ticket sales totaled $34.7 billion last year, a 6 percent increase from 2011, The New York Times reports. Chinese moviegoers made up the second-biggest market, behind the United States and Canada, according to a report from the Motion Picture Association of America released on Thursday. U.S. and Canada box office receipts totaled $10.8 billion, a 6 percent increase over last year, while Chinese movie ticket sales increased 36 percent to $2.7 billion, exceeding the $2.4 billion for Japan. The higher receipts in the U.S. market reflected an increase in the number of tickets sold, not higher prices.
That’s a Lot of Sneezing Pandas!
YouTube announced Thursday that the Google-owned video sharing site has surpassed one billion regular users, The company attributed the recent growth in part to the proliferation of smartphones users visiting the site. YouTube was launched in 2005. Fun fact: the first YouTube video uploaded was “Me at the Zoo” created by co-founder Jawed Karim. With one billion monthly users, YouTube is vying with Facebook for bragging rights as the Internet’s largest social network, which reached a billion users last October, the BBC reports. According to YouTube, nearly half of Internet users visit YouTube, with the monthly viewership the equivalent of 10 Super Bowl audiences.