Business news briefs
tick up slightly
Rising food costs and higher rents offset a drop in gas prices, leaving consumer prices slightly higher in October. The Labor Department said the consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in October, down from sharp gains in the previous two months. The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index fell 0.1 percent September to October, reflecting a decline in transportation costs.
This holiday season, shoppers will see a tale of two discounters. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, expects its fourth-quarter profit to weaken as shoppers grapple with an uncertain economy. Meanwhile, rival Target Corp. issued an outlook for the holiday shopping season that was much more positive.
Superstorm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months. The Labor Department said weekly applications increased by 78,000 mostly because a large number of people filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim benefits if their workplaces close and they don't get paid.
sees U.S. shakeup
McDonald's Corp. is hoping a leadership shakeup in its U.S. operations will help it fight off intensifying competition. The world's biggest hamburger chain says that Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA, will be replaced by Jeff Stratton, the company's global chief restaurant officer, effective Dec. 1.
Post Office posts
$15.6 billion loss
The struggling U.S. Postal Service is reporting a record annual loss of $15.9 billion. The numbers cap a tumultuous financial year in which the post office was forced for the first time to default on more than $11 billion in payments to avert bankruptcy. Absent action by Congress, it will run out of money on Oct. 15, 2013.
rates going down
U.S. homes are entering the foreclosure process at a slower pace than a year ago, and fewer properties are being repossessed by lenders. Between January and October, 971,533 homes were on a path to foreclosure, down 8 percent from last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said. At the other end of the process, banks repossessed 559,063 homes through the end of last month, a decline of nearly 19 percent from a year ago.
P&G eyes job
Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co. plans to cut more jobs and increase share repurchases. P&G faces investor pressure to improve results. The company is working on a turnaround plan that focuses on its most profitable categories and countries. It plans to cut 10 percent of non-manufacturing jobs by June 2013, and will slash an additional 2 percent to 4 percent of such jobs between 2014 and 2016.