China's auto sales cool, local brands squeezed PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer   
Friday, 11 April 2014 06:45

BEIJING (AP) — China's growth in auto sales decelerated further in March and local brands lost market share in the face of intense foreign competition, an industry group reported Friday.

Sales rose 7.9 percent to 1.7 million vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was down from February's 11.3 percent growth.

Sales of Chinese domestic brands contracted by 2.3 percent to 672,000 vehicles, the association said. Their market share shrank by 4.1 percentage points from a year earlier to 39.3 percent.

China's explosive auto sales growth has cooled steadily since peaking above 40 percent in 2009 as rapid economic expansion slows.

The economy grew by 7.7 percent last year, tying 2012 for the lowest rate since 1999. The government's official growth target this year is 7.5 percent and, in a sign officials already worry they might fail to meet that, Beijing launched a mini-stimulus last month with higher spending on construction of railways and other public works.

Michigan governor signs bill to block scrap metal thefts PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 11 April 2014 06:39

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed legislation intended to crack down on sales of stolen scrap metal, widely cited as a motive for destructive vandalism in Detroit.

Michigan scrapyards that buy copper wire, air conditioners and catalytic converters will only be able to pay sellers by mail for sales of more than $25.

"We cannot allow metal thieves to damage our homes, farms, utilities, businesses, schools and other public properties," Snyder said in a statement. "By damaging traffic signals, street lights and road signs, these criminals endanger Michiganders. We've been working with our partners in the Legislature from both sides of the aisle on this critical issue for two years to find a solution that protects residents and law-abiding people in the industry."

Scrapyards will have to take photos or video of metal they buy. Sellers could only be paid by check or money order, or they could redeem their money at an onsite ATM.

Coldwater Creek files for bankruptcy protection PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 11 April 2014 06:44

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — The women's clothing retailer Coldwater Creek has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after failing to find a potential buyer or a source of capital to help fund its turnaround efforts.

Coldwater Creek said Friday that its stores and its website are still open and selling clothing and other goods to shoppers.

But it expects to start sales to liquidate its inventory in early May. It plans to hold going out of business sales in the coming months.

The chain said it spent the past six months evaluating its options, but that its declining financial resources, tough retail conditions and its inability to find other viable options drove it to file for bankruptcy protection.

Coldwater Creek has struggled in recent years due to weak consumer spending and a failure to find fashions that resonated with customers. It hadn't posted a quarterly profit since the second quarter of 2010.

The Sandpoint, Idaho-based company had cut costs and closed some stores during its attempts to keep the business afloat. It also made other moves to improve its profitability, but declines in sales trends continued to intensify.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 April 2014 07:10
Tech sell-off sends world stock markets lower PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by YOUKYUNG LEE, AP Business Writer   
Friday, 11 April 2014 06:34

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stock markets were lower Friday as investors marked down technology stocks and a drop in U.S. jobless claims failed to boost investor confidence.

European markets opened weaker, with Britain's FTSE 100 losing 1 percent to 6,575.83. Germany's DAX fell 1.2 percent to 9,338.48 and France's CAC-40 shed 1 percent to 4,369.26.

Wall Street looked set for lackluster trading. Dow and S&P 500 futures were both little changed.

The falls in Europe were foreshadowed by a weak performance in Asian markets. Investors knocked down Internet and technology companies after the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite had its worst day since 2011.

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