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October 07, 2014 01:43 PM

Tuesday Afternoon Business Brief

New York

Investors, concerned that the global economy is slowing, have sent U.S. stocks sliding. All three major U.S. indexes are down. Industrial production in Germany, Europe's largest economy, dropped the most in five years and the International Monetary Fund trimmed its outlook for global growth this year and next.

  • The nation's largest retail industry trade group predicts Americans will spend at the highest rate in three years during the upcoming holiday shopping season, traditionally the year's busiest. But industry watchers say shoppers will need fat discounts, and there will be a huge divide in spending between the haves and have-nots.
  • Milder temperatures should cut heating bills this winter. Few expect a return of the deep freeze that chilled much of the nation last year, which means most residents will save money because they won't crank up the heat as much. The Energy Department's annual prediction of winter heating costs says users of heating oil and propane will get an extra big discount from lower fuel prices.
  • The International Monetary Fund has slightly lowered its outlook for global economic growth this year and next, mostly because of weaker expansions in Japan, Latin America and Europe. The global lending organization warns that the U.S., Europe and Japan could face years of sluggish growth unless governments take steps to accelerate activity.
  • Wall Street profits during the first half of the year dropped 13 percent compared to the same period in 2013. New York's comptroller says fallout from the 2008 financial crisis is to blame. Although profitability was up over the past five years, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the securities industry continues to downsize. But he says bonuses for those who remain are likely to increase.
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