GDP growth, a Facebook surge and Pfizer settlement (and Angelinia Jolie!) top our roundup of the day's top business news stories
Revised Statistics Show American GDP for 2012 Better Than Estimated
The Commerce Department Wednesday released numbers on the gross domestic product for 2012, saying the U.S. GDP had its fastest rate of growth since 2005. GDP expanded 2.8 percent in 2012, far better than the original estimate of 2.2 percent. Revised data on retail spending, home building and oil and gas drilling improved the numbers. A turnaround in housing, some incidences of rising income and improvements in household finance boosted the economy, the Commerce Department said.
200,000 Jobs Added in July: ADP Report
American businesses added a better than forecast 200,000 jobs in July, payroll processor ADP reported Wednesday. The report anticipates he government's own monthly employment survey which will be announced Friday. Small businesses added 82,000 jobs, mid-size ones, 60,000 and large companies, 57,000, ADP said. Professional and business services led job gains, with 49,000, followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 45,000 and the construction industry with 22,000 jobs.
Better Late than Never: Facebook Stock Almost Reaches IPO Price
It took 14 months, but Facebook Inc’s stock on Tuesday nearly reached its $38 debut price for the first time since the social network went public in May 2012, Reuters reports. Facebook stock was really liked this past week after the company reported its strongest revenue growth since the third quarter of 2011. Facebook, with 1.15 billion users, has never traded at or exceeded the $38 benchmark. Facebook’s turnaround is being attributed to its success in building a mobile advertising business, revenue of which grew 75 percent in a span of three months, Reuters reports. Shares in the company are up more than 50 percent this month.
Pfizer Settles Drug Marketing Case
New York-based Pfizer Inc., the world’s second-biggest drugmaker, will pay almost $491 million to resolve an investigation into illegal marketing of the organ transplant drug Rapamune by a company Pfizer acquired. The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday. Pfizer agreed to pay $257.4 million in civil settlements with federal and state governments and a $157.6 million criminal fine. Pfizer also will forfeit $76 million in assets. The Justice Department said the drugmaker Wyeth, which Pfizer bought in October 2009, trained sales representatives to encourage doctors to prescribe Rapamune, for uses other than preventing rejection of transplanted kidneys, even giving them bonuses for doing so, The Associated Press reports. Whistleblower Mark Campbell, a Wyeth sales rep for 20 years until he resigned in 2009, alleged Wyeth promoted Rapamune for patients getting liver, lung, heart and other transplants - potentially dangerous uses. The Justice Department acknowledged Tuesday Pfizer’s cooperation in the case.
Senate Panel Approves Defense Spending Bill
A defense spending bill that reverses the most drastic cuts from the sequestration across-the-board budget cuts from the spring was approved Tuesday by the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. The budget goes next to the full Senate Thursday. The approved budget adds almost $4.5 billion to the budget for the armed forces to cover shortfalls in military training and equipment maintenance. The sequestration bill that forces cuts to every federal program would require $52 billion cut from the 2014 Pentagon budget, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the defense subcommittee chairman, said sequestration is impossible to implement in regards to the armed forces. The bill includes a 1 percent pay raise for military personnel and Defense Department civilian employees, and $25 million to implement a program to provide victims of sexual assault with legal assistance and support.
More Americans Want Smoking To Be Illegal: Gallup Poll.
A new Gallup poll says 22 percent of Americans want smoking to be illegal everywhere. In 2007, only 12 percent of Americans favored a complete ban of the habit. According to the survey, 39 percent of non-whites support a universal ban, and 15 percent of Caucasians call for the ban. Twenty-nine percent of those with only a high school diploma call for a ban on smoking, while 16 percent of college graduates think smoking should be illegal. Fifty-five percent want smoking in all public p laces illegal, according to the poll. Democrats are more interested in the ban than Republicans, 26 percent to 19 percent.
Angelina Jolie Hollywood’s Highest Paid Actress: Forbes
After ranking Hollywood’s highest paid actors, Forbes gives equal time to actresses, ranking Angelina Jolie atop the list. Tellingly, the estimated $33 million that Forbes reports she earned between June 2012 and June 2013 would only get her to No. 8 on the list of highest paid actors (on par with Denzel Washington). Rounding out the top five highest paid actresses are: Jennifer Lawrence ($26 million), Kristen Stewart, No. 1 on last year’s list ($22 million), Jennifer Aniston ($20 million), and Emma Stone ($16 million).