Best Buy Profit Falls 77%; Goldman Sachs Posts $2.12 Billion Loss; New Permits and Starts at Record Low; Brazil Retail Rises 10.1%; Berkshire Buys NC Real Estate Brokerage; Crude Slides in Spite of OPEC
- Profit at electronics retailer Best Buy Co. (BBY) fell 77% during the company’s fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 29. The company said it would offer buyout packages to nearly all corporate employees to save on costs as it trudges through a dismal holiday shopping season, the Associated Press reported.
- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) reported a $2.12 billion, or $4.97 a share, loss for its fiscal fourth quarter, Bloomberg reported. “Our results for the fourth quarter reflect extraordinarily difficult operating conditions, including a sharp decline in values across virtually every asset class," Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said in the statement.
- New building permits and new housing starts hit a record low in November. Permits plummeted 15.6% to 616,000 units from 730,000 in October. Housing starts fell 18.9% to 625,000 from 771,000 in October, Reuters reported.
- Retail sales in Brazil rose 10.1% in October, exceeding economists’ forecasts and showing promise that consumers in the Latin American titan are holding up in the global economic slowdown. Sales may slow in November and December, however. “Sectors that are dependent on credit, such as vehicles, will suffer more in the following months,” Luiz Goes, partner of Gouvea de Souza consultancy firm, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.
- Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (BRK.A, BRK.B) HomeServices of America yesterday (Tuesday) purchased a Raleigh, N.C.-based York Simpson Underwood, a residential real estate brokerage with 250 agents. York Simpson, which closed more than $717 million in real estate transactions last year, will be merged with an existing HomeServices brokerage, Prudential Carolinas Realty, and is being renamed Prudential York Simpson Underwood Realty, The Associated Press reported.
- Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell 91 cents to settle at $43.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday (Tuesday), despite indications that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is gearing up to cut production. Prices fell below $44 just after Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi said production would likely be cut by about 2 billion barrels per day.