Emerging Markets Rev Up Toyota Sales–Toyota’s profit for the fourth quarter jumped 7.5% from the previous year as booming sales in China, Africa and South America offset declining US sales and a stronger yen, the Japanese car maker reported yesterday.
Overseas Snack Sales Help PepsiCo Meet Expectations–The snacks business registered double-digit growth in Russia, the Middle East, Turkey and India. The beverage business had double-digit increases in the Middle East, China, Brazil, Argentina, India and Russia. PepsiCo reported a quarterly profit on Thursday that met analysts’ expectations.
CBS 60 MINUTES–Should the U.S. Mint continue to produce pennies and nickels whose metal content is worth more than their face value? Why mint the penny, when it costs $134 million to make $80 million worth of what most people consider nuisance coins (see chart above of rising copper prices)?
The situation irks Edmund Mony, the director of the U.S. Mint, who would like Congress to find a solution. “You can’t sustain losses on pennies and nickels and expect to be a viable organization that benefits the American people,” says Moy.
Is that really a bureaucrat talking!
Watch “60 Minutes” this Sunday night at 7 p.m. on CBS for the story.
New Zealand’s unemployment rate falls to record low 3.4%.
Switzerland’s unemployment rate fall to more than 5-year low of 2.6%.
In a classic, satirical anti-protectionism essay by French economist Bastiat, French candlemakers’ in 1845 petitioned against “the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival is none other than the sun.”
According to yesterday’s FT Times, The European Candle Institute is currently petitioning the European Union against “a surge in Chinese candle imports that is unfairly damaging our businesses.”
The complaint says that hundreds of jobs have been lost in the past few months, and that Chinese producers are selling below the costs of their EU rivals.
The French candlemakers in 1845, according to Bastiat, wanted to pass a law “requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, and blinds — in short, all openings and holes through which the light of the sun can enter houses, to the detriment of the candle industry.”
The European candlemakers today want to impose anti-dumping duties against China in retaliation against “unfair prices.”
HT: Tim Worstall
A: Simple. Because there was a 6X increase in the market capitalization of large companies during that period (see red line in graph above for market cap, vs. blue/green lines for CEO pay), according to this forthcoming QJE article by NYU business professors Xavier Gabaix and Augustin Landier.
HT: Kevin “Angus” Grier at KPC
ASSOCIATED PRESS–Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will open its first in-store medical clinics under its own brand name after leasing space in dozens of stores to outside companies that operate the quick-service health stops.
The world’s largest retailer said Thursday it will open “The Clinic at Wal-Mart” (pictured above) as a joint venture with local hospital systems in Atlanta, Dallas and Little Rock, Ark., starting in April.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is among several U.S. supermarket and drug store chains that in the past couple of years have begun opening store-based health clinics, which are staffed mostly by nurse practitioners or physician assistants and offer quick service for routine conditions from colds and bladder infections to sunburn.
About 7% of Americans have tried a clinic at least once, and that number is expected to increase dramatically, as chains like Wal-Mart, CVS Corp., Target Corp. and Walgreen Co. partner with mini-clinic providers like RediClinic and MinuteClinic to expand operations. The trade group estimates there will be more than 1,500 by year-end, up from about 800 in November.
From Wal-Mart’s press release: Today’s announcement is the first step towards opening 400 co-branded convenient clinics by 2010 and further proof of Wal-Mart’s commitment to providing affordable, accessible solutions to America’s healthcare challenges. Wal-Mart expects “The Clinic at Wal-Mart” to become synonymous with quality healthcare at affordable prices, provided by trusted, local providers.
Partly due to increasing generic-drug competition (generics were 63% of all prescriptions in 2006 vs. 50% in 2005) and the ongoing, fierce price war among drug retailers (see previous CD posts about $4 prescription drugs at Wal-Mart, Kmart, Publix, and Kroger), the inflation rate for prescription drugs fell to a 34-year low of 1.4% in 2007 (see graph above, click to enlarge), way below the average annual inflation rate of 4.12% for 2007, and way below the 34-year average drug inflation rate of 6.28%.
“The decline in drug prices shows that when things go right in health care — when competitive markets are allowed to function — prices respond favorably for consumers, just as they do in other sectors of the economy. So while politicians and pundits in Washington dream up the next grandiose health care reform, smart consumers know that the most effective health care solutions may be right around the corner at their local retailer.”
Robert Goldberg, Vice-president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest