US banking titan JP Morgan Chase has begun shopping its stable of commodities businesses, according to a report published Thursday by the Wall Street Journal. The entire unit, according to the story, produces annual revenue of about $750 million before taking out compensation costs, which the bank says run about half of incoming revenue. The bank has made its intention to sell the businesses known to potential suitors, according to the report, and is expecting offers to begin rolling in before the end of the month.
Gartner Research issued a report Thursday that showed a continued decline in sales of personal computers as more and more consumers turn to tablets and smartphones for all their computing needs. According to the report, PC shipments declined 8.6 percent in the third quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarter in which PC sales slipped. Total shipments in the three months ended September 30th were also the lowest global total since 2008, Gartner said. The decline last quarter was especially disconcerting to the PC industry as it included the back-to-school shopping season, typically a bountiful time of the year for the industry as students around the world upgrade computers for the new school year.
Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced Thursday it is scaling back costs in an attempt to save about $2 billion a year, continuing a growing trend in the global pharmaceutical industry. Rival Merck & Co. revealed a similar plan last week, vowing to save $2.5 billion a year by reducing payroll by 8,500 positions, about 10 percent of its global workforce, and Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sonafi have all taken similar measures at some point in the last two years. Teva's plan, meanwhile, calls for about 5,000 layoffs, accounting for a payroll reduction of about 10 percent for the company.
Men's Wearhouse on Wednesday rebuked a buyout offer from rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, claiming the proposed deal would bring antitrust scrutiny. Men's Wearhouse CEO Douglas S. Ewert also called the proposal “highly opportunistic,” and claimed that the retailer's current strategy would create more value for its shareholders than Jos. A. Bank's “inadequate, highly conditional proposal”. Bank had extended the offer earlier this week, offering to pay $48 a share for its bigger rival. The offer represented a 36 percent premium over the Tuesday closing price of Men's Wearhouse shares.
The US Labor Department reported Thursday that US jobless claims reached a 6-month high last week, though the spike was largely due to a computer backlog in claims data that was processed in last week's total. The partial government shutdown also had an impact, as the furlough of federal workers began to force state and municipal governments to send some of their workers home until the shutdown comes to an end. If the impacts of the shutdown and the backlog of claims were taken out, a Labor spokesman said, claims would have dropped, and continued an overall recent trend of declining unemployment.