Fed minutes show
Federal Reserve policymakers expressed broad support last month for the Fed to buy bonds to support the economy, but differed over how long to keep the purchases up. Minutes of the December policy meeting released Thursday show some members thought bond purchases would be warranted through the end of 2013 while others felt they should be slowed or stopped sooner.
Vietnam to get
Starbucks will open its first Vietnam cafe next month in Ho Chi Minh City as part of its plan to expand in Asia. The company will enter a country of coffee lovers with an already established market. At least two homegrown chains have dozens of locations across the country.
Boeing on track to
beat rival Airbus
Boeing delivered 601 planes last year, putting it on track to beat European rival Airbus as the world's top plane maker. Airbus has beaten Boeing in deliveries in recent years, but Boeing is now cranking out lots of new 787s and revamped 747s after delays for both aircraft. Boeing also has orders for 1,203 commercial jets. Airbus has not reported deliveries yet.
Auto sales hit
U.S. auto sales hit a five-year high in 2012, as low interest rates, improving consumer confidence and some great new cars drew buyers into dealerships. Sales of new cars and trucks reached 14.5 million, up 13 percent from last year. That was not quite a return to the boom times of 2005, when sales hit 17 million, but they still were 40 percent higher than 2009, when the recession was ending.
rose last month
A last-minute surge in spending saved the holiday shopping season. Major retailers including Costco, Gap and Nordstrom posted better-than-expected sales in December. That comes as a relief for stores, which can ring up to 40 percent of their annual revenue in the last two months of the year. Americans spent cautiously early in the season but more freely in the final shopping days of the year.
Barnes & Noble
saw tepid sales
For Barnes & Noble, the digital future isn't what it used to be. Eight months after affirming its commitment to build its business through its Nook division, the retailer announced holiday sales so disappointing that questions are being raised about the company's ability to pull off the transformation from its traditional retail format. Retail sales fell to $1.2 billion, a 10.9 percent decline from the comparable nine-week holiday period in 2011.