October 18, 2013

SC business notebook, Oct. 19

Weak demand leads Boing to reduce 747 production; Investors push S&P 500 into record territory; J.C. Penney opening stores on Thanksgiving evening; HSBC to again appeal $2.46 billion judgment in securities fraud lawsuit

Weak demand leads Boing to reduce 747 production

Boeing is reducing production of its 747 jumbo jet even more than planned, because of weak demand. Boeing says it will now build 18 of the jets per year, or about 1.5 per month. The slowdown begins early next year. Boeing – which makes 787s in North Charleston – had been building two 747s per month but was already planning to slow down its 747 production line in Washington state early next year. The new slowdown announced Friday is an even deeper cut to production. The Chicago-based company says it is still committed to the 747. It says it expects long-term growth for cargo planes to resume next year.

Investors push S&P 500 into record territory

Investors shifted their focus from politics to profits on Friday and liked what they saw, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 index further into record territory. Two days after Congress struck a last-minute deal to keep the U.S. from a devastating default on its debt, investors were bidding up stocks on surprisingly good profits from companies in industries both old and new. General Electric and Morgan Stanley rose after reporting higher earnings than financial analysts had expected. The S&P 500 set a record for the second straight day. The broad index of 500 companies, up 22 percent this year, added 11.35 points, or 0.7 percent, to a record 1,744.50. The Nasdaq composite was up 51.13 points, or 1.3 percent, at 3,914.28. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,399.65, and is 277 points below its own record.

J.C. Penney opening stores on Thanksgiving evening

J.C. Penney is opening its doors on Thanksgiving evening to kick off the holiday shopping season, as the beleaguered retailer hopes to get back in the game for the crucial selling period. The Plano, Texas-based chain will open most of its 1,100 stores at 8 p.m. on the holiday, the same as rival Macy’s, and will be open 25 hours straight, closing at 9 p.m. the following day. Last year Penney didn’t open until 6 a.m. Friday.

HSBC to again appeal $2.46 billion judgment in securities fraud lawsuit

HSBC Group said Friday that it would appeal yet again a $2.46 billion judgment in a long-running securities fraud lawsuit in the United States related to a consumer-loan and credit-card business that the British bank acquired more than a decade ago. The shareholder lawsuit alleged that Household International, now known as the HSBC Finance Corp., misled investors about its lending practices, the quality of its loans and its accounting between 1999 and 2002. The lawsuit has wound its way through U.S. courts for 11 years and has been regularly noted in HSBC’s corporate filings. In a decision issued Thursday, Judge Ronald A. Guzman of U.S. District Court in Chicago ordered HSBC, as well as three of Household International’s former executives, to pay about $1.48 billion in damages and $986.4 million in prejudgment interest.

The Associated Press and New York Times contributed.

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