Walgreens sees a significant rise in prescription sales, and the U.S. wants an explanation on the anthrax scare at CDC.
Apple to Unveil iPhones with Larger Screens
Chinese suppliers of Apple iPhones will begin producing larger versions in order to compete with Samsung phones will bigger displays, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Apple is increasing production of iPhones with 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch screen sizes. Those new screen phones could be shipped as early as September, according to the report. Apple launches new versions of its smartphones in the fall of every year. The Samsung phones with the larger screens have proven very popular in Asia and other places outside of the U.S.
Avon To Cut 600 Jobs
As Avon Products continues to struggle to return to profitability, the company announced Tuesday it will cut about 600 jobs, some in its North American unit. The cosmetics seller has posted losses in five of its last six quarters. Prior to the cuts, the company had 36,700 employees worldwide and 4,300 in the United States. Avon will take a pretax charge of between $45-$50 million, of which $40 million is expected to be recorded in the current quarter ending June, the company said in a statement released Monday. The job cubs combined with other restructuring efforts could result in a savings of $50 million annually, Avon said.
Explain the Anthrax Problem
The U.S. Senate panel on health issues has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to explain how a safety breach occurred that exposed 84 people to live anthrax. “The breach in safety protocol threatened the health and safety of CDC staff and raises serious concerns and questions with respect to the protocols and procedures that were followed at the biosafety labs,’’ wrote the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.”We request a detailed explanation of what happened, why established safety protocols were not followed or were insufficient to prevent such an incident.”
Home Prices Gain, But Weaker
The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas show home prices rose 1.1 percent in April, slightly above expectations of 1.0 percent but below the prior month’s growth of 1.24 percent. “Although home prices rose in April, the annual gains weakened,’’ said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones Index Committee. “Overall, prices are rising month to month, but at a slower rate.” In response to the report, stock market futures closed mostly lower in late trading Monday.
Strong Prescription Sales Boost Walgreens
Walgreens Co., the nation’s largest drug retailer, reported a 15.7 percent rise in quarterly profits and said strong growth in prescription sales boosted the profit totals Prescription sales rose 8.4 percent in the third quarter. The company says prescription sales make up nearly 65 percent of the company’s total sales. Net income at Walgreens rose to $722 million, or 75 cents per share, in the quarter ended May 31. Last year’s income for the same period was $62 million, or 65 cents a share.
BNP Paribas Will Pay U.S. $8 Billion
The French Bank BNP Paribas will plead guilty to a criminal charge of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and will pay the United States between $8 billion and $9 million in penalties, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. BNP will also accept a temporary ban on conducting transactions in U.S. dollars, the report stated. The U.S. government is investigating BNP’s business with the outlaw nation of Sudan between 2002 and 2007 to determine whether the bank attempted to hide an estimated $30 billion in transactions with that country. The U.S. alleges BNP Paribas used a network of banks in Europe, East Africa and the Middle East to launder money used in deals with Sudan.