Growth slows in South Korea. Learn more about this and other top news stories of the day.
“Frankenstorm” heads for Northeast
Hurricane Sandy, now pummeling the Caribbean, is headed for the Northeast and could contribute to the worst storm to hit the Eastern seaboard in 100 years, Bloomberg News reports. Sandy may join forces with a winter storm coming from the Midwest to create a “Frankenstorm” early next week that would rival the New England Hurricane of 1983, according to Bloomberg.
National Weather Service storm models predict the intense storm could strike anywhere from Delaware to southern New England. Researchers predict the storm will cause more than $5 billion in damage, according to Bloomberg.
Growth Slows in South Korea
South Korea’s economy expanded by 1.6 percent in the third quarter of 2012, compared to the same period a year earlier, the slowest rate in three years, according to data released Thursday by the Bank of Korea and reported by Bloomberg News. The slowdown is attributed to the European debt crisis, reduced corporate investment in emerging markets and reduced demand for exports.
Some analysts say the economy may have hit bottom, pointing to the higher-than-expected earnings reported by Samsung Electronics Co. yesterday. According to Bloomberg, annual sales from Samsung account for 13 percent of South Korea’s gross domestic product.
Amazon.com Reports Quarterly Loss
Amazon.com posted its first net income loss in 18 quarters and a quarterly loss for the first time in four years. The earnings report was issued after the market closed, and sent Amazon shares down 9 percent before they recovered. Amazon lost 60 cents a share in the third quarter, much of it because of a large loss on its investment in the daily deals site Living Social. Its operating loss was $28 million. Profit in the third quarter of 2011 was $79 million. Revenue was $13.8 billion, a little less than analyst expectations. Analysts are predicting strong revenue growth for the fourth quarter holiday shopping season on the strength of its new Kindle tablets and associated downloads.
Microsoft Kicks Off Windows 8
Now it’s Microsoft’s turn. Following Apple’s announcement of its iPad mini, Microsoft kicked off a campaign for its newest operating system, Windows 8, and its Surface tablet computer, which goes on sale Friday, at a five-hour event Thursday in New York. Designed to run on both PCs and tablet computers, Windows 8 heralds the biggest change to the industry's dominant operating system in at least 17 years, the Associated Press reports. This holiday season looks to be a gadget-lover’s dream come true, with the Surface tablet, iPad mini, and Amazon.com’s and Barnes & Noble’s upcoming new Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet models. The suggested retail for the Surface is $599, more expensive than its rivals.
A New Chapter for Penguin and Random House?
Here’s a publishing story with a novel twist. With the publishing industry under siege by the e-book market, Penguin and Random House, two of the world’s largest book publishers, are in merger talks, The New York Times reports. Should the talks reach a happy ending, the combined entity would control nearly one-quarter of the United States book market with an A-list dream team of authors, including John Grisham, Toni Morrison, and Patricia Cornwell. Pearson is the British media conglomerate that owns Penguin. Random House is owned by Bertelsmann of Germany.
Ford to Close Three European Plants
For the first time in 10 years, Ford Motor Co. will close factories in Europe, cutting 5,700 jobs , Bloomberg News reports. Ford announced plans yesterday to close three plants in efforts to control losses expected to exceed $3 billion over two years.
Two factories in the United Kingdom and one in Belgium will be shut down, reducing production capacity by 355,500 vehicles, according to Bloomberg. The moves will save Ford $450 million to $500 million a year and will bolster the company’s third-quarter earnings.
Ford shares closed 2.2 percent higher in New York yesterday, posting the biggest gain since September 7, according to Bloomberg.