Wal-mart (WMT) will not sign a legally binding pact aimed at improving worker safety in Bangladesh, but the world’s biggest retailer has come up with its own proposal. Major European stores agreed to an accord in Bangladesh that was negotiated with international labor groups. The plan is aimed at preventing another tragedy after the massive building collapse last month when more than 1,100 clothing industry workers were killed. Wal-mart has announced a plan for improving safety, and says an outside auditor will be hired to inspect the 279 Bangladesh factories it does business with. The results of the investigation will be published on Wal-mart’s website. Wal-Mart is promising to shut down production at factories were urgent safety problems are discovered and press for improvements at substandard plants.
Newly found documents indicate that clothing had been produced for Wal-mart at the factory building that collapsed, according to the New York Times. The Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity reportedly provided The Times with photos of several documents that were recovered in the building’s rubble. They give evidence that a Wal-Mart contractor from Canada produced jeans last year at a site on the 5th floor of the building.
Google CEO Larry Page has disclosed a problem with his vocal cords that makes it difficult for him to speak and breathe occasionally, but he says he remains fit enough to keep running the company. The explanation that Page posted on his Google Plus profile clears up a mystery hanging over him since he lost his voice a year ago, causing him to miss Google’s (GOOG) annual shareholders meeting in June and a conference call to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings in July.
Are stocks overvalued after the market soared to new highs? Tuesday’s close was the 19th record high this year. But many analysts say the averages could still move higher. The average stock in the S&P 500 index is trading at around 16 times earnings over the past year, close to the long-term average. Japan’s Nikkei index closed above 15,000 for the first time in more than five years. But the best place to put your money in the past year may have been Greece! The Wall Street Journal reports the Athens stock market has gained more than 80 percent. The stellar performance comes despite continued problems for the eurozone. The economy in the 17 nations that make up the single currency zone shrank by 0.2 percent in the first three months of this year. That’s the 6th straight decline.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc