US newspaper round-up: McDonald's, The Fed, Fiscal cliff...
McDonald's Corp.'s global same-store sales rose a bigger-than-expected 2.4 per cent in November as the world's largest fast-food chain was able to reverse the decline it reported for October. Analysts were expecting a 0.17 per cent rise in global sales at restaurants that have been open at least 13 months, according to Consensus Metrix. 'We are strengthening our focus on the global priorities that are most impactful to our customers—optimizing our menu, modernizing the customer experience and broadening accessibility to our brand to move our business forward amid today's broad-based economic and competitive challenges,' Chief Executive Don Thompson said. [The Wall Street Journal]
The Federal Reserve is expected to take another step Tuesday to stimulate the lackluster recovery by agreeing to buy more Treasury bonds to push down long-term interest rates. Fed policymakers also could approve new strategies for communicating to the public and financial markets when they expect to raise a benchmark short-term interest rate, now near zero. The effectiveness of the communication is important because it can affect rates even before the Fed takes any action. [USA Today]
The contours of a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff are becoming increasingly clear. But progress has been slow, and time is running out for leaders to seal an agreement and sell it to restless lawmakers who so far have been given little information. With hope still alive for a resolution by Christmas, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met Sunday at the White House, their first face-to-face meeting in nearly a month and their first one-on-one session since July 2011, when they last tried to forge a far-reaching compromise to tame the national debt. Neither side would provide details, but White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage and Boehner spokesman Michael Steel released identical statements saying “the lines of communication remain open.” [The Washington Post]
When a 9.0-magnitude quake knocked out one of the Renesas Electronics Corporation’s chip-making factories in northeastern Japan last year, Toyota Motor and other manufacturers dispatched hundreds of workers to help get the plant running again. On Monday, some of Japan’s largest manufacturers pitched in again, contributing to a government-led bailout worth 150 billion yen ($1.8 billion) for the struggling chip maker. The effort underscores the importance of the company’s advanced microcontroller chips to Japanese industry and the reluctance to give the technology to foreign firms.
In a statement, Renesas said the government fund, the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, would provide most of the aid. Eight Japanese manufacturers – including Canon, Nikon, Nissan, Panasonic and Toyota – will contribute roughly 12 billion yen. The capital injection will help Renesas increase spending on the advanced microcontrollers used in cars and electronic devices, the company said. To prop up its finances, Renesas had requested an additional 50 billion yen from the government. [The New York Times]
U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. said Monday it has agreed to acquire the Sunflower brand of vanaspati cooking oil from India's Wipro Ltd. The acquisition is limited to the brand, Cargill said in a statement. It didn't provide other details, including the price it agreed to pay. A spokesman for Wipro declined to comment. [The Wall Street Journal]
Not long ago, The Financial Times would have been the crown jewel of any media company, instantly conferring prestige and influence on its owner. Now, given the likely bidders, one of the world’s most respected and distinctive financial newspapers could end up as a trophy to help sell more computer terminals. Michael R. Bloomberg is weighing the wisdom of buying The Financial Times Group, which includes the paper and a half interest in The Economist, according to three people close to Mr. Bloomberg who spoke on the condition of anonymity to divulge private conversations.[The New York Times]
Honeywell International Inc. agreed to acquire Intermec Inc. for about $600 million, while the diversified industrial company also gave a cautious outlook for the new year. In addition to strengthening Honeywell's core scanning and mobile computing business, the transaction also is expected to open new opportunities in areas such as voice solutions and barcode and receipt printing, according to Roger Fradin, president and chief executive of Honeywell's automation and control solutions unit. [The Wall Street Journal]