Stocks fall…Retail sales rise…Industrial production climbs
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are sagging in morning trading on Wall Street after weak economic data from China got investors worrying about the global economy again. China’s government said industrial output and retail sales both slowed in November. Technology and health care companies are taking some of the worst losses. Software maker Adobe, coffee chain Starbucks and wholesaler Costco all sank after issuing weak reports or forecasts.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Retail sales increased a slight two-tenths of a percent in November, as strong sales tied to holiday shopping were offset by lower gasoline prices. Excluding gas, November retail sales rose a healthy 0.5 percent. The Commerce Department says non-store retail sales jumped 2.3 percent. Furnishers, electronics stores and health stores also enjoyed a solid bump as the holiday shopping season got into full swing. But some of that sales growth was hampered by gas stations, which saw a 2.3 percent drop in purchases last month.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. industrial production climbed 0.6 percent on surging output at mines and utilities. The Federal Reserve says utility output rose 3.3 percent as power companies were busier because of unusually cold weather. Mining output rose 1.7 percent on higher production at coal mines and oil and gas drillers. But manufacturing was flat in November after falling 0.1 percent in October. Factories are contending with a stronger dollar that makes their products more expensive in foreign markets, slowing global growth and import taxes that raise their costs.
DETROIT (AP) – The massive 14,000-person layoff announced by General Motors last month might not be quite as bad as originally projected. The company says 2,700 out of the 3,300 factory jobs slated for elimination will now be saved by adding jobs at other U.S. factories. Blue-collar workers in many cities will still lose jobs when GM shutters four U.S. factories next year. Most could find employment at other GM plants, but they might have to relocate. GM still plans to lay off about 8,000 white-collar workers and another 2,600 factory workers in Canada.
LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) – Some Massachusetts property owners are struggling to return to normalcy following pipeline explosions three months ago. The utility company responsible for the disaster says only about 150 customers who opted to do required repairs themselves are still waiting for gas service to be restored. But that doesn’t factor in about 30 families still dealing with serious damage that could take months to repair. Small business owners say they’re also still reeling because business hasn’t picked back up. The Sept. 13 disaster killed one person, injured two dozen, damaged 131 structures and left thousands without heat and hot water for weeks.