A surge in U.S. construction, CBS jumps on the all access bandwagon, and a new, thinner iPad lead our roundup of the morning's top business news stories.
U.S. Housing Starts Rose 6.3 Percent in September
The Census Bureau announced Friday that U.S. construction reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.02 million homes in September, a rise from August of 6.3 percent. Last month's performance marks only the third month this year that starts have broken the 1 million annualized level, USA TODAY reports. Permits also increased, up 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual level of 1.02 million. Construction of both single-family homes and apartment buildings accelerated from August. Starts increased in every region of the country, ranging from a 13.2 percent surge in the West to a 3.5 percent improvement in the Midwest.
CBS Launches Streaming Service
Will access make the heart grow fonder? CBS is the first major broadcast network to jump on the all access bandwagon with its new live streaming service called CBS All Access. The news follow’s HBO’s announcement Wednesday that it will launch a streaming subscription service that doesn’t require traditional pay TV service.The CBS service will cost $5.99-per-month and offer a catalog of on-demand episodes that includes full seasons from 15 shows including The Good Wife, as well as ad-free episodes from such classic series as “Star Trek,” “Cheers” and “Twin Peaks.” The app is available on CBS.com, Google Play and iTunes and will also stream live local CBS broadcasts in 14 of the largest U.S. markets including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, USA TODAY reports.
Chrysler Issues Two More Recalls
Chrysler Group has ordered two recalls involving 747,817 vehicles. One
involves 434,581 2011 to 2014 sedans and SUVs with the 3.6-liter engine and a 160 amp alternator. The alternator may suddenly fail, increasingly the likelihood that the vehicle could crash. The vehicles involved are the Dodge Challenger, Charger and Durango; Chrysler 300; and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The other involves 313,236 Jeep Wranglers from the 2011 to 2013 model years. The electric connector in the heated power mirrors could short circuit, increasing the risk of fire in these vehicles. Between the two recalls, there has been a total of one accident and no injuries, Chrysler reported.
How Thin is the New iPad?
It’s so thin that if you stacked two of the new iPad Air 2’s on top of one another, it would still be thinner than the original iPad. That’s not much of a joke, but declining tablet sales are no laughing matter. Apple introduced the new device on Thursday and will take orders on Friday. Shipping is scheduled to begin next week. Apple has sold 225 million iPads since they were first launched four years ago. The new model will feature a faster processor and better camera. It will also come in a new color, gold, and will cost between $499 and $699, depending on storage. iPads are not upgraded as frequently as smartphones. Sales are down 9 percent for the year, but Apple still leads in market share with 26.9 percent, USA TODAY reports.
GE Posts Positive Earnings
Sales of jet engines and oil and gas equipment helped General Electric post higher quarterly net income for the third quarter, the company reported Friday. GE said its third-quarter net income reached $3.54 billion, or 35 cents per share, from $3.19 billion a year earlier. Earnings, excluding items, reached 38 cents a share, compared to 36 cents a share one year ago. Revenue for the quarter totaled $36.2 billion against last year’s revenues of $35.7 billion. Analysts’ expectations were for earnings of about 37 cents a share on $36.8 billion in revenue.
Ebola Fears Cruise Cut Short
A cruise from Galveston, Texas, has been cut short because a Texas health worker is on the ship, and health officials want that person to come back home. The health worker may have had contact with specimens from the first Ebola patient in the United States. The worker has been isolated on the cruise ship, despite showing no symptoms of the disease, according to the State Department. The health worker has been self-monitoring since Monday, and chose voluntary to isolate from other passengers to protect them. The contact with Thomas Eric Duncan occurred 19 days ago.
Yellen Decries Income Equality
In a speech she was scheduled to deliver Friday morning, U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said income inequality in the United States is one of her greatest concerns. Yellen said income inequality is near its highest level in 100 years, dating back to the Great Depression, and said the growing burden of student debt and the decline in new business creation were key factors that could depress the situation further. "The past several decades have seen the most sustained rise in inequality since the 19th century after more than 40 years of narrowing inequality following the Great Depression," she said. Yellen said a bounceback in home prices has helped restore some lost wealth in housing values, particularly for those at the bottom of the spectrum. But she noted the wealthiest 5 percent in the United States holds two-thirds of all the assets and that income remains stagnant for the majority of Ame