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Retailers reported same-store sales Thursday, and many showed growth that missed expectations and slowed from a year earlier.

By Benzinga Jul 5, 2012 7:37PM
Image: woman swiping a credit card © Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty ImagesBy Matthew Kanterman, Benzinga Staff Writer

The retail sector is expected to report slowing sales growth for June. Warm weather in the winter months may have contributed to the slowdown, as consumers likely bought warm-weather goods earlier than usual.


Reports from companies such as Costco (COST) have already shown slowing sales growth. For June, Costco reported that sales excluding fuel rose 3% year-over-year, missing expectations of a 3.5% rise.

 

The automaker looks to boost market share overseas with the introduction of 9 new vehicles.

By Benzinga Jul 5, 2012 7:21PM
Image: Brazil (© Donald Edwards/age fotostock)By Brett Callwood, Benzinga Staff Writer

Auto giant General Motors (GM) is overhauling its lineup to increase its market share in Brazil.


According to Reuters, GM has launched seven new vehicles in Brazil over the past 12 months, with two more due before the end of 2012.


"Our sales forecasts were wrong for all of the recent launches," senior vice president Marcos Munhoz told Reuters.

 

An informal taste test finds that the chain's new Cantina Bell menu is surprisingly good. Should Chipotle be worried?

By Kim Peterson Jul 5, 2012 4:33PM
Taco Bell, a unit of Yum Brands (YUM), is rolling out its new Cantina Bell menu nationwide Thursday. Will the new menu kill Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)? I stopped by Taco Bell for lunch Thursday to find out.

The Cantina Bell menu was significantly smaller than what I expected. It contains only two main items: a Cantina Bowl and a Cantina Burrito. Both were available with chicken, steak or vegetables. The menu also included cilantro rice with beans and tortilla chips with guacamole, roasted corn and pepper salsa or pico de gallo. 
Tags: CMGYUM

Announcements in Europe and China get a ho-hum response, partly because the news was widely anticipated.

By Jim J. Jubak Jul 5, 2012 3:14PM
Three of the world's big central banks took action Thursday to add stimulus to local economies -- and global stock markets at best yawned.

First out of the chute, the Bank of England announced that it would restart its program of buying bonds two months after the central bank stopped its purchases. The Bank of England's program of quantitative easing will buy 50 billion pounds ($78 billion) in bonds.
 

Stocks pare earlier losses after new European easing measures and signs of improvement in the US labor market.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 5, 2012 2:03PM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Chain retailers reported June sales figures, with Limited Brands (LTD), TJX (TJX), Nordstrom’s (JWN) and Saks (SKS) beating expectations, while Costco (COST), Macy's (M) and Target (TGT) all fell short of Wall Street predictions.

Volkswagen (VLKAY) agreed to acquire the 50.1% stake in Porsche (POAHY) it doesn't already own as VW aims to pass Toyota (TM) and General Motors (GM) to become the world's largest automaker. 
 

Can a new Web-only show starring Jerry Seinfeld save the struggling electronics company?

By Kim Peterson Jul 5, 2012 1:54PM
Jerry Seinfeld is debuting a new show about, well, almost nothing. The title says it all: "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

The series won't be on TV. Instead, the show will be a Web series hosted by Crackle, Sony's (SNE) digital network. The show's website has a short, wordless clip showing Seinfeld driving in a small convertible with the comedian Ricky Gervais. There's another promotional video here

William Cohan talks about the British bank's rate rigging and its implications for other institutions.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 5, 2012 1:51PM
Last week, Barclays (BCS) admitted to rigging the London InterBank Offered Rate (Libor) and agreed to settle the case for $450 million in penalties. But the scandal may not be contained to one bank.

In the video below, William Cohan, a Bloomberg columnist and the author of "Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World," explains that many U.S. banks are involved in the Libor market, including Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC). U.S. regulators, he says, are looking into their involvement. 

It may be tough to keep up interest in the next-generation BlackBerry, which won't be ready now until next year.

By Trefis Jul 5, 2012 12:52PM
trefisResearch in Motion (RIMM) announced a bleak set of first-quarter results on June 28. While the earnings disappointment was expected -- after the company lowered expectations in its business update last month -- what was unexpected was a delay in the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone to the first quarter of 2013. 

Given that the company is seeing a massive fall in BlackBerry sales and competitors Apple (AAPL) and  Microsoft (MSFT) will be launching their respective smartphones before the end of this year, it will be a tough challenge for RIM to keep potential customers interested in a platform that will not be released until 2013.
 
Tags: MSFTRIMM

The key issues at the core of the Libor flap are almost identical to those that surfaced after the financial crisis.

By The Fiscal Times Jul 5, 2012 11:56AM
By Suzanne McGeeThe Fiscal Times

While cities and communities across the United States prepared for fireworks displays to celebrate the Fourth of July, in London the only fireworks on view took place during the hearing held by a British parliamentary committee into the apparent manipulation of London's famed benchmark interbank lending rate, Libor. And in the hot seat was Bob Diamond, who joined Barclays investment bank exactly 16 years earlier, on the Fourth of July -- and who had resigned just the day before as its CEO, citing "external pressure."

Liborgate, as it is becoming known, is yet another black mark for the financial services industry. This time around its center is in the City, the heart of London's financial industry, rather than Wall Street –- but the issues at the core of the scandal, and the questions that are left for policymakers and other observers to debate remain almost identical to those raised in the wake of the financial crisis.  

The rental giant charges lower membership fees and offers one-way rentals.

By Trefis Jul 5, 2012 11:29AM
trefisImage: A young man admiring a new car © i love images/Cultura/Getty ImagesCar rental giant Hertz (HTZ) plans to equip its entire fleet with car-sharing-compatible Eileo technology by mid-2013. This could be a serious challenge to Zipcar (ZIP), whose current fleet of 9,000 is 30 times smaller than Hertz's 375,000 cars. 

The entry of many large players into Zipcar's niche car-sharing market has been a major worry for Zipcar's investors this year as most of the competitors offer relaxed membership fee and other benefits, like one-way rentals, to better compete with Zipcar.
 
Tags: HTZZIP

Turkcell is upgraded to 'overweight,' and Solazyme is downgraded to 'market perform.'

By MSN Money Partner Jul 5, 2012 11:23AM
Information provided by Theflyonthewall.com

Thursday's noteworthy upgrades include:  
  • Blackstone (BX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital
  • City National (CYN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at SunTrust
  • Turkcell (TKC) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
  • Global Payments (GPN) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Northcoast
 

In the business world, this social network rules.

By AlphaVN.com Jul 5, 2012 11:12AM

In the rock-and-roll world of social media, icons and legends come and go. It wasn't so long ago that Friendster and MySpace were riding high and filling the proverbial stadiums. Then came Facebook (FB) and Twitter and now Pinterest.


LinkdIn (LNKD), off on the sidelines, is quietly doing its own thing and taking care of business. LinkedIn was early to the social media game and planted its stake in the business and networking segment, methodically setting about owning it.

 

Expanding markets from medicine to the military are boosting prospects for the technology.

By TheStockAdvisors Jul 5, 2012 10:11AM

By John Persinos, Personal Finance

 

The use of RFID (radio frequency identification) makes organizations more efficient, by allowing managers to locate any item, pallet or person with pinpoint accuracy. Think of them as barcodes on steroids.

 

Within this field, Avery Dennison (AVY) sold more than a quarter of all RFID tags in 2011, making it the clear market leader. Importantly, the company's RFID technology is superior to that of its competitors, largely because its RFID tags can read at any angle to produce better read-capture rates.

 
Tags: AVYWMT

When advertising inserts go, so will what's left of the industry.

By InvestorPlace Jul 5, 2012 9:35AM

By Lawrence Meyers

 

Last week I had lunch with a fellow who's been a journalist for a very long time. He knows the business, he knows everyone in the business and he knows the dirty secrets of the business. He thinks Warren Buffett was crazy to buy Media General (MEG). He also thinks, as I do, that newspapers are toast and you'd be crazy to be buying those stocks right now.


He believes two primary factors are behind plummeting circulation. The first is the plethora of news offered for free all over the Internet -- newspapers don't offer anything unique or original.

 

The Swiss bank is implementing a radical cost cutting plan from mid-2011 in an attempt to combat rising costs.

By Trefis Jul 5, 2012 9:06AM
TrefisUBS (UBS) seems to be axing more jobs across its operations in Asia than it had originally announced earlier this year. The move was triggered by the recent decline in economic growth in the region coupled with a downward revision in the outlook for the region's two most important growing economies, China and India.

In February, the Swiss bank had made plans to cut 35 jobs across Asia-Pacific. UBS is not the only global banking group downsizing its Asian operations, with Deutsche Bank (DB) and Goldman Sachs (GS) also resorting to similar measures. 
Tags: DBGSubs

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[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +0.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +5.30. Equity futures point to small gains at the open. 

Asian markets finished mixed amid a quiet overnight trade. 

Economic data from the region was limited to Japan's trade balance, which posted a record March trade deficit of JPY1.71 trln (JPY1.27 trln expected, JPY1.18 trln previous) on a 1.8% rise in exports and 18.1% jump in imports.


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