US Q3 growth faster than expected; Troops out as Ferguson sees more violence; Apple is first $700bn company

1 US Q3 growth faster than forecast (BBC) he US economy grew much faster in the third quarter than first reported, official figures have shown. It expanded at an annualised rate of 3.9% between July and September, up from the 3.5% first estimated by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The rise, which follows a strong second quarter, means the US has seen its strongest two consecutive quarters of growth for a decade. Consumer spending was the biggest driver of the raised estimate. It grew by 2.2% according to the latest estimate, which was higher than the initial calculation of 1.8%. Consumer spending is closely watched as it accounts for 70% of US gross domestic product (GDP).

The data suggests the US has shrugged off the slow start to the year when heavy snow saw the economy shrink. Meanwhile, a separate survey, showed US house prices rose by more than expected in September. The closely-watched S&P/Case Shiller index jumped 4.9% year-on-year.

At the end of October, the US Federal Reserve said it would not raise interest rates for a “considerable time”. It also ended its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus programme of buying financial assets and creating new money to pay for them, aimed at stimulating the economy.

2 Troops out as Ferguson sees more violence (Ben Kesling, Pervaiz Shallwani & Mark Peters in The Wall Street Journal) Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said he would triple the National Guard presence in the St. Louis region in the wake of widespread violence following a grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The governor said about 2,200 National Guardsmen will be in the region, up from about 700 last night. The governor said National Guard troops were protecting public property and key infrastructure, but would be deployed to protect homes and businesses.

Protesters Monday night had set police cruisers on fire, smashed windows and looted stores, while police responded by firing nonlethal munitions and tear gas at crowds. By morning, more than 20 businesses were burned and more than 60 people were arrested.

Meanwhile, protesters set out again in cities around the country on Tuesday following protests Monday evening in cities from New York to San Francisco.

3 Apple is first $700bn company (Nick Fletcher in The Guardian) Apple set a record by becoming the first company to be valued at $700bn. The iPhone maker was already the world’s most valuable business, but in early trading its shares rose nearly 1% to $119.75, giving it a market capitalisation of $701.7bn. This is higher than the GDP of all but the top 19 countries in the world.

Apple’s shares have risen around 60% this year, with the success of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus one of the main reasons behind the surge. Last month it announced that it had sold a record 39.3m iPhones in its third quarter, and predicted that its latest products would help it boost sales by at least 10% over the forthcoming holiday period. It expects to sell more in the Christmas quarter this year than it did in the whole of 2010.

Apple has been vying with oil company Exxon Mobil for the accolade of the world’s largest company for a number of years, first overtaking its rival in August 2011 before falling back after concerns that its future products may not live up to past glories. It regained the top spot in August 2013 after Exxon suffered from falling oil prices and weak earnings. Exxon is now worth around $405bn, while Apple’s technology rivals Microsoft and Google are valued at $392bn and $368bn respectively.

Analysts believe Apple could go even higher, with Michael Corcelli, head of US fund Alexander Alternative Capital, saying he expected its market capitalisation to reach $1trn next year. But Apple is not the world’s most valuable company in history if inflation is taken into account. CNBC calculated that Microsoft’s peak market capitalisation of $613bn in 1999 would become nearly $875bn at 2014 prices.

About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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