Investors cautious ahead of jobs data
SAN FRANCISCO — The closer investors get to the government's July employment report, the more cautious they become.
Stocks slipped Wednesday as investors shied from making big moves ahead of the government's monthly reading on job losses and the unemployment rate, which comes out before the start of trading on Friday.
The caution in Wednesday's trading followed a disappointing report on the service sector during July. The Institute for Supply Management said its service index, a measure of the health of retail, financial services, transportation and health care companies, fell to 46.4 from 47 in June, marking the 10th straight monthly slide. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
P&G's sales, profits sink in rough seas
CINCINNATI — The new man at the helm of Procter & Gamble Co. has his work cut out for him: steering the consumer products maker in a rough economy that's sinking sales, profits and shares.
P&G reported Wednesday that fourth-quarter profit fell 18 percent to $2.5 billion and sales were off 11 percent to $18.7 billion, and the company forecast more declines in the current quarter, Bob McDonald's first as CEO.
The company expects things to start improving later in the year but will try to pump up sales volume by cutting some prices and adding lower-tier products to counter consumer trade down to cheaper brands.
Sales dropped across P&G's broad portfolio, but particularly in discretionary areas such as Braun electric shavers, Oral-B power toothbrushes, Duracell batteries and Pringles snacks.
Toyota to develop cheap sports car
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.— Toyota will produce a fun but affordable sports car as the automaker seeks a return to profitability with vehicles that meet customers' desire for fuel efficiency without sacrificing style, company president Akio Toyoda said Wednesday.
Toyoda announced plans for the new car to be built under a joint venture with Subaru.
Toyota has a reputation for quality and fuel-efficient cars, but it acknowledges a need for more stylish vehicles to attract U.S. buyers.
Cisco earnings fall; worst may be over
NEW YORK — Cisco Systems said earnings fell 46 percent to $1.1 billion in its latest quarter, but the profit comfortably beat Wall Street expectations. The technology bellwether also said it's seeing signs that the worst is over. The world's largest maker of computer networking gear said Wednesday that sales fell 18 percent to $8.5 billion.
NetJets' chairman, CEO resigns posts
WOODBRIDGE, N.J. — NetJets, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, said Richard Santulli is stepping down as chairman and CEO after 25 years with the company. Buffett named David Sokol as chairman and interim CEO.
Santulli said he is leaving to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests. He will remain with the company, which allows people and companies to share ownership of business jets, as a consultant for at least a year.