Measure of future
growth dips 0.2%
A measure of the U.S. economy designed to signal future activity fell in November, suggesting that growth could remain weak early next year. The Conference Board said its index of leading indicators dropped 0.2 percent, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent the month before. The index is intended to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.
Olive Garden parent
After new ad campaigns touting the quality of its food failed to spark sales, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster is retooling its strategy and will offer more promotional deals. The shift comes after Darden Restaurants tried to appeal to younger diners who prize fresh, high-quality ingredients. Problem is many also want cheaper prices and convenience.
Discover Financial's fourth quarter net income rose 6 percent as more customers paid off credit card balances on time. For the period ended Nov. 30, the credit-card issuer earned $541 million, or $1.07 per share. That compares with 95 cents per share a year earlier. Analysts expected earnings of $1.12 per share.
Charlie Rose and his production company have agreed to pay as much as $250,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by a former unpaid intern who claimed minimum wage violations. Rose will pay back wages to a potential class of 189 interns. The settlement calls for them to receive $1,100 each $110 a week in back pay, up to a maximum of 10 weeks, the approximate length of a school semester.
The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments rose for the first time in five weeks, a sign improvement in the labor market will depend on faster growth. Applications fincreased by 17,000, to 361,000, in the week ended Dec. 15. The less-volatile four-week average declined from 381,500 to 367,750, the lowest in two months.
Nike profit falls
as sales falter
Nike Inc. said fourth-quarter net income fell 18 percent, to $384 million, from a year earlier, but still topped analysts' estimates. Excluding losses associated with businesses Nike is selling or has sold, profit was $1.14 a share. Analysts had projected $1 a share. While sales have slowed or even declined overseas, Nike's North America remains a strength.