Shanghaied Apple iPhone 6's seized, "Bond King" Bill Gross departs Pimco for Janus, and Denzel has no equal at the box office. Read about these and other of the morning's top business news stories.
Consumers Boosted Spending in August
Consumer spending in August rose 0.5 percent from the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Auto sales drove about half of the increase for the best result since spending also expanded 0.5 percent in June. Income rose 0.3 percent in August, a slight improvement over the 0.2 percent increase in July. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. In another report issued Monday, the National Association of Realtors said the number of contracts signed to buy existing homes fell 1 percent in August from July. Pending home sales were down 2.2 percent from August 2013.
Denzel Washington Has No Equal
Denzel Washington, one of Hollywood’s most reliable box office draws, blew away the competition with “The Equalizer,” which drew $35 million over the weekend and set a record for the September debut of an R-rated film. In its second weekend, “The Maze Runner” dropped to second with $17.5 million, followed by the debut of the animated family film, “The Boxtrolls,” which earned $17.2 million. The adult dramatic comedy “This is Where I Leave You” fetched $7 million. “Dolphin Tale 2” rounded out the top five with $4.8 million. “The Equalizer” is based on the 1985 TV series. Its success raises the question of whether there will be a sequel. Washington has never starred in one.
China Nabs iPhone 6 Smugglers
China reported Sunday the seizure of 453 smartphones in Shanghai. Hundreds more were seized during three separate busts Thursday through Saturday in Hong Kong. Smugglers are bringing Apple iPhone 6 models into the country ahead of their official release date, the Associated Press reports. The most recent seizure was from the luggage of two passengers arriving at the Shanghai airport from Tokyo, one of them Chinese and one of them Japanese. Hundreds more have been confiscated individually from passengers who did not declare them.
Air France Pilots End 2-Week Strike
The “selfish” walkout of Air France pilots ended Sunday though no deal has been finalized. Air France' s main pilots union unilaterally ended a 14-day strike that grounded roughly half of the airline's flights, stranded passengers worldwide and cost tens of millions of dollars, the Associated Press reports. In a statement, the union said it was ending the strike "in the interests of the company and passengers." The walkout began Sept. 15. It was the longest in more than four decades initiated by pilots at Air France, The 81-year-old company today conducts about 1,500 flights each day, and last year had 77.3 million passengers, making it one of Europe's biggest carriers. Air France, in its own statement, said service would "progressively" start returning to normal on Tuesday
Bill Gross Joins Janus Capital Group
Bill Gross, one of the towering figures in the bond market, left Pimco, the company he co-founded in 1971 to join Janus Capital Group. Gross, who has been dubbed “the Bond King,” runs Pimco’s $222 billion Total Return Fund. The prospect that investors would follow Gross and take their money with them sent the stocks of several rival investment companies soaring. Janus jumped 43 percent. Allianz, the German company that owns Pimco, dropped 6 percent. Pimco quickly appointed a successor. Daniel Ivascyn, who has been with Pimco since 1998. He will serve group chief investment officer.
How to Buy Your Movie Studio
DreamWorks Animation, home to the “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Shrek” and “Madagascar” franchises, may have a new owner, USA TODAY reports. SoftBank Corp. is reportedly in talks to buy the animation studio founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, The Tokyo-based wireless carrier has reportedly offered $32 a share for the studio’s stock, which is a 30 percent premium over its Friday closing. Katzenberg, who has been seeking a buyer for the company, would reportedly sign a five-year contract and remain. DreamWorks Animation has seen shares drop more than 22 percent over the past year. In 2004, DreamWorks Animation spun off as a public company from DreamWorks Studios, which Katzenberg founded in 1994 with David Geffen and Steven Spielberg.