The S&P's best day in 2014 thus far highlights our roundup of the morning's top business news stories.
Consumer Prices Up 0.1 Percent in September
U.S consumer prices barely rose in September as energy costs tumbled, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 percent last month after declining 0.2 percent in August. The CPI increased 1.7 percent in the past 12 months through September. Energy prices fell for the third consecutive month, while food prices gained 0.3 percent in September after rising 0.2 percent in August. Shelter costs increased 0.3 percent after rising 0.2 percent in August. The shelter index was up 3 percent in the past year through September, its largest gain since January 2008, CNBC reports.
S&P 500 Posts Its Best Day of the Year
Is investor confidence on the rebound after its two-week swoon? The Standard & Poor's 500 index posted best day of the year as the market continued its recovery. The S&P 500 index, which is on pace to have its best week of 2014 yet, added 37.27 points to 1,941.28. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 215.14 points to 16,614.81. The Nasdaq composite rose 103.40 points 4,419.48. Since falling to a six-month low last week, the stock market has now basically recovered nearly all of its losses. After closing at 1,862.49 on Oct. 15, the S&P 500 index has rallied more than 4 percent in four days.
Chinese GDP Growth Beats Expectations
China's gross domestic product grew by 7.3 percent during the third quarter, the weakest showing for China's economy in more than five years, CBS reports. Despite the slowdown, analysts outside of China note the 7.3 percent GDP figure is still better than expected. The third quarter figures, released Tuesday, put China on course for annual growth somewhat lower than the 7.5 per cent targeted by leaders. The world's No. 2 economy grew 7.5 per cent from a year earlier in the previous quarter and 7.4 per cent in the first quarter.
Kimberly-Clark to Eliminate 1,300 Jobs
Consumer products company Kimberly-Clark plans to eliminate up to 1,300 jobs as part of restructuring efforts aimed at reducing costs and making its business more efficient. The Dallas-based maker of such brands as Kleenex and Huggies has 58,000 workers worldwide, according to its website. The restructuring is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, USA TODAY reports. Kimberly-Clark reported it now expects an adjusted profit between $5.93 and $6.03 per share, down from its prior range of $6 to $6.15 per share. The company announced last November it wanted to spin off its health care business, which would create a separate, publicly traded company named Halyard Health Inc. The spinoff is expected to be effective by the end of October.
Unemployment Rates Fall in More Than Half of States
Unemployment rates fell in 31 states in September, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.
Joblessness increased in eight states and was unchanged in 11 as well as the District of Columbia. Last month, the sharpest drops in the jobless rate were seen in Colorado (4.7 percent from 5.1 percent), Kentucky (7.3 percent from 7.percent) and Nevada, which has seen its rate fall dramatically over the past year from 9.6 percent, the highest in the country. Georgia had the highest rate at 7.9 percent, whjile North Dakota, still riding the wave of an oil boom, continues to have the lowest, 2.8 percent. Eight states plus the District of Columbia had unemployment rates above 7 percent while four enjoyed rates under 4%. The national unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, down from 6.1 percent in August.
New Michigan Law Puts Brakes on Tesla
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed Tuesday bipartisan legislation aimed at discouraging Tesla Motors from selling its electric cars directly through company stores, USA TODAY reports. The bill brings Michigan into a growing number of states that have raised obstacles to the California-based electric car company.vSnyder said direct sales of new vehicles is already banned in the state. This law will explicitly require all automakers to sell through a network of franchised dealers. Founded in 2003, Tesla, is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and operates from a former General Motors-Toyota plant in nearby Fremont. "Tesla is selling a new product with a new technology," the electric car maker said in a statement. "The evidence is overwhelming that a traditional dealer-based approach does not work for electric cars."