U.S. factory output flat in September
WASHINGTON — U.S. factories barely boosted their output in September, adding to other signs that the economy was slowing even before the government shutdown began on Oct. 1.
Manufacturing production rose only 0.1 percent, the Federal Reserve said Monday. That’s down from a 0.5 percent gain in August, which was slightly lower than previously reported.
Automakers boosted their output in September, but the gain was offset by declines at makers of computers, furniture and appliances.
Overall industrial production increased 0.6 percent in September, mostly because of a 4.4 percent jump in utility output. Utilities had fallen for five months. But September was unseasonably warm, likely increasing air conditioning use.
Samsung to expand devices that work with Gear watch
NEW YORK — Samsung says its new Galaxy Gear computerized watch will be compatible with several older phones through a software update.
One big flaw with the $300 Gear is that in the U.S., it’s compatible only with the new Galaxy Note 3 phone, which costs another $300 with a two-year service agreement. Last week, Samsung Electronics Co. said the Gear will also work with the Galaxy S4 Mini when that comes out next month.
On Monday, Samsung said it will also make the update available for the S III, S4 and Note II in the coming weeks and the S4 Active and Mega phones in the coming months.
The Gear works with Samsung devices to display message alerts and other information on the wrist.
Settlement OK’d in Google stock split lawsuit
WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware judge on Monday approved a settlement in a shareholder lawsuit challenging Google Inc.’s plans to split its stock and issue a new class of nonvoting shares.
The ruling by Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. clears the way for the Internet search leader to issue shares of “Class C” nonvoting stock for each share of existing stock.
The judge approved the settlement despite noting that, while it is designed to ensure that co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin retain control of Mountain View, Calif.-based Google, the two are not being forced to give any concessions to other shareholders. Instead, like other shareholders, Page and Brin will receive Class C shares in an amount equal to their current Class B stock holdings — more than 24 million shares each.
Burger King sees early promise in Satisfries
NEW YORK — Burger King says it’s attracting more customers with its new lower-calorie fries but is being careful not to call them a home run yet.
The Miami-based company said Monday that it saw sales trends in North America turn positive after last month’s launch of “Satisfries,” which have 20 percent fewer calories than its regular fries because of a batter that absorbs less oil.
The move into positive sales territory in October comes after Burger King said that sales slipped 0.3 percent at North America restaurants open at least a year during its third quarter. Satisfries, which cost around 30 cents more than regular fries, weren’t introduced until the last week of the quarter, which ended Sept. 30.
The company blamed the quarterly sales dip on intensifying competition and a soft economy. Its net income rose sharply, however, as a result of reduced restaurant expenses and growth overseas.