FINANCE

Consumer sentiment drops in October

BY CSA STAFF

New York City The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys index of Consumer Sentiment reversed direction and experienced a notable decline in October compared to the previous month.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys index of Consumer Sentiment reversed direction and experienced a notable decline in October compared to the previous month.

 The report showed that the consumer sentiment index fell to 69.4 in October from the final September reading of 73.5. Economists had been expecting a much more modest decrease to a reading of 73.3.

“While consumers still anticipated gains in the general economy and now think that the unemployment rate is close to its cyclical peak, there has been no improvement in consumers’ dismal assessments of their personal financial situation,” the report said.

The disappointing consumer sentiment report helped drive down U.S. stocks on Friday, ending a four-day rally that had driven the market to year highs. Government bonds, which investors prefer during times of economic weakness, had a strong rally.

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Gap updates market strategies; plans to go overseas

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK, N.Y. Gap will present investors with an update on its strategies to regain market share and invest further in its online and international businesses.

Among specific announcements, Gap brand will return to television advertising in November, following a two-year absence. The company will also continue to invest internationally, including: opening its first Gap store in China in 2010; expanding its outlet store presence internationally; and launching online businesses in Canada and the United Kingdom in 2010.

“Old Navy’s performance this year has shown what we can deliver through consistent products, re-invigorated marketing, and an enhanced store environment,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap. “With our improved economic model, we’re ready to step up our investments and strategies to regain market share and expand our international platform.”

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Walmart supports humanitarian efforts around the world

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. The Walmart Foundation announced a donation of $350,000 in disaster relief for people impacted by recent droughts in Guatemala, flooding in southern India and natural disasters in Southeast Asia.

Heavy rains and flooding in southern India have impacted more than 2 million people, resulting in approximately 300 deaths. The Walmart Foundation’s $125,000 donation to CARE will assist in implementing immediate relief activities for approximately 25,000 flood survivors in the areas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

In Guatemala, a $100,000 donation to the United Nations World Food Programme, WFP, will go toward purchasing and distributing therapeutic foods to fight acute malnutrition in the impacted areas. The donation will provide 95 tons of Vitacereal, which provides essential micronutrients that are lacking in rural indigenous diets but play an important role in growth and protection against disease. The funds will support 31,000 beneficiaries to reduce chronic malnutrition in the most affected areas of the country

The Walmart Foundation will also donate $125,000 to the American Red Cross International Relief Fund to help aid in their response to recent disasters in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Samoa and American Samoa. The funds will go toward meeting the immediate needs of these populations by funding the distribution of medical provisions, water, temporary shelters and sanitation services, as well as help emergency responders reconnect families, restore livelihoods and help the communities build their resilience for future natural disasters.

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