August 14, 2008

July Retail Sales Fail to Meet Even Low Expectations

By Staff and Wire Reports

WASHINGTON -- Retail sales fell in July, the weakest performance in five months, as shoppers shunned autos and other big ticket items.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that retail sales dipped 0.1 percent last month when a variety of economic ills combined to blunt the impact of billions of dollars in government stimulus payments to U.S. households.

It was the first decline since sales had fallen by 0.5 percent in February and it was a worse showing than the flat reading economists had been expecting. The weakness in July came after another big slide in auto sales as Detroit faced its worst sales month in 16 years.

New cell phone handsetto be designed by RF Micro

GREENSBORO -- RF Micro Devices landed a contract to design a handset for a major phone handset maker, the company said Wednesday.

Volume shipments should begin in the fourth quarter, the company said. RF won the contract -- it declined to release the phone maker - - because of its 3G cellular power amplifier system in a single component.

The power amplifier combines two high-band broadband amplifiers and one low-band broadband amplifier, enabling handset designers to work with any combination of eight WCDMA cellular frequency bands, the company said. The component allows handsets to improve cellular network efficiency, enhance network coverage and improve transmission of data, RF Micro said.

Consumer cutbacks send Macy's earnings downward

NEW YORK -- Macy's saw its second-quarter earnings drop slightly and warned that full-year profits will be below Wall Street expectations as shoppers are more cautious about spending.

The department store operator earned $73 million, or 17 cents per share, in the quarter ending Aug. 2, compared with $74 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier.

This year's results include two unusual items that cut earnings by 12 cents per share. Excluding those items, Macy's earned 29 cents per share from continuing operations.

Markets fall back amid worries about financials

NEW YORK -- Wall Street has ended an erratic day with a lopsided loss, with the Dow Jones industrials bearing the brunt of investors' concerns over the health of the financial sector. The Dow fell more than 100 points, but the other major indexes ended with much smaller losses.

High-tech and small-cap stocks fared better than the broader market, proof that investors were wary and choosy.

-- Staff and Wire Reports

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