Shoppers urged to support small businesses today

Now in its third year, Small Business Saturday urges holiday shoppers to patronize locally owned businesses to keep more money in the community.

Every dollar spent in a locally owned small business has three times the positive economic impact on the local economy than if that same dollar is spent in a big-box store, said the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

RIM’s shares rise ahead of new Blackberry smartphone

TORONTO — Shares of Research in Motion Ltd. jumped nearly 14 percent Friday as investors seemingly grew more optimistic about a February launch of the Canadian company’s much-delayed BlackBerry 10.

RIM will release the latest version of its smartphone “not too long” after a Jan. 30 launch event, chief operating officer Kristian Tear said.

The new phones are seen as critical to the Waterloo, Ontario, company’s survival as the smartphone pioneer struggles in North America to hold on to customers who are abandoning BlackBerrys for flashier iPhones and Android phones.

RIM shares on the Nasdaq closed up $1.41, or nearly 14 percent, to $11.67 Friday in an abbreviated trading session on Wall Street.

Business confidence rises unexpectedly in Germany

BERLIN — German business confidence rose unexpectedly in November after six consecutive declines, a closely watched survey showed Friday, raising hopes that Europe’s largest economy can weather the financial crisis.

Munich’s Ifo institute said its key business climate figure rose to 101.4 points in November from 100 in October. Economists had been predicting a modest drop to 99.5. The increase in the headline index came on the back of increases in the measures about the present and the future.

“The latest positive news from business surveys clearly increased the odds for a real turnaround at the change of the year,” said UniCredit economist Alexander Koch. However, he cautioned that “the fog of uncertainty remains unusually dense, and downside risks are high.”

Wal-Mart suspends India staff in corruption probe

MUMBAI, India — Wal-Mart’s Indian joint venture said Friday it has suspended several employees as part of an internal corruption investigation, another blow to the U.S. company’s plans for aggressive expansion in a giant market that is largely untapped by foreign retailers.

Bharti Walmart, Wal-Mart’s joint venture with India’s Bharti Enterprises, said it suspended “a few associates” and was “committed to conducting a complete and thorough investigation.” India’s Economic Times newspaper reported the company’s chief financial officer was among the five employees suspended, a claim the company declined to verify.

The news comes at a sensitive time for foreign retailers in India, where corruption scandals in everything from telecommunications to coal mining have badly damaged the ruling Congress Party. Eager to rekindle foreign investment, the Congress Party eased foreign investment rules in September, paving the way for Wal-Mart and others — which had been limited to wholesaling — to run retail shops with a local partner.

Staff and wire reports