Weak report stymies stocks
Stocks edged lower on Wall Street on Monday after a surprisingly weak manufacturing report heightened concern that fiscal deadlock in Washington is already hurting the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 59.98 points to close at 12,965.60. The Standard and Poor’s 500 dropped 6.72 points to 1,409.46. The Nasdaq composite was down 8.04 points to 3,002.20.
U.S. manufacturing declined in November to its weakest level since July 2009, the Institute for Supply Management reported. The ISM’s index fell to 49.5 from 51.7 a month earlier, below the 51.2 reading forecast by analysts. Any number below 50 on the scale means that manufacturing is contracting. Businesses expressed concerns about the “fiscal cliff,” a series of sharp government spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to start Jan. 1 unless an agreement is reached to cut the budget deficit.
President Barack Obama’s opening proposal included $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade, a possible extension of the temporary Social Security payroll tax cut and heightened presidential power to raise the national debt limit.
House Republicans on Monday proposed their own 10-year blueprint. It calls for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare and lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits.
University to conduct research
Cleveland State business students are offering to do marketing research for local companies this spring in London.
Students will visit business libraries, contact company officials and conduct interviews as part of their research.
The program is part of an international marketing and business research class led by marketing lecturer Kimberly Ruggeri. The program has helped local companies in past years, including the marketing and distribution potential for candles made by the A.I. Root Co. in Medina.
Opportunities are limited, so interested firms should act quickly to contact Ruggeri at 216-687-3670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
100+ countries for iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 will be making its way to 54 countries this month.
That number is notable because the iPhone 5 is already available in 47 countries, so by Dec. 21, Apple will have its flagship product in more than 100 countries.
The iPhone 5 launched in the U.S. and other countries on Sept. 21, and already the device has helped Apple reclaim the top spot in the U.S. smartphone market. In the U.S., the phone is available from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. Apple has also begun selling an unlocked version that can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile without signing a two-year service contract.
The phone will arrive in South Korea on Friday. That will be followed by another wave of launches Dec. 14 that includes more than 30 countries, among them China, Russia and Brazil. The following Friday, Apple will begin to sell its phones in 20 more countries, many of them in Africa.
Small-business owners borrowed more in October, a sign they might be getting more confident about hiring.
Lending to small companies rose 11 percent from September’s level, according to a survey released Monday by PayNet, which provides credit ratings on small businesses. Small-business lending has been erratic recently, dropping in September after increasing in July and August.
The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending index, based on new commercial loans and leases granted to small businesses, rose to 107.5 from a revised 96.4.
Owners have been very cautious about borrowing because of uncertainty about the economy. But recent reports have shown that small companies are hiring slowly. And positive news came from the government last week: The economy grew at a better-than-expected 2.7 percent annual rate during the third quarter.
DVRs gaining popularity
A new survey finds that digital video recorders are now in more than half of all U.S. homes that subscribe to cable or satellite TV services.
Leichtman Research Group’s survey of 1,300 households found that 52 percent of the ones that have pay-TV service also have a DVR. That translates to about 45 percent of all households and is up from 13.5 percent of all households surveyed five years ago by another firm, Nielsen.
The first DVRs came out in 1999, from TiVo Inc. and ReplayTV. Later, they were built into cable set-top boxes.
Even with the spread of DVRs, live TV rules. Nielsen found last year that DVRs accounted for 8 percent of TV watching.
Compiled from staff and wire reports