By John Kapetaneas
Apple has made a deal with China Mobile to sell the iPhone in the carrier's stores beginning January 17. The agreement gives Apple access to the 1.2 billion subscriber China market, where Samsung and Google's Android have been dominant in smartphones and operating systems, respectively. China Mobile has 62 percent of all mobile subscribers in China, and is expected to sell around 12 million new iPhones for Apple in 2014. Shares of Apple traded 2.7 percent higher in Europe on the news.
Stock futures are rising leading in to Monday's trading day, following a strong week on Wall Street, and despite the Fed's announcement of a taper on its stimulus program. Consumer spending rose in November by the most in five months, with household purchases increasing .5 percent. Personal income rose .2 percent in November, up .1 percent from October.
Asian and European stocks rose following the IMF's increased growth outlook for the US economy, even in the face of the ongoing credit squeeze in China. In the US, the S&P and the Dow are now up 27 percent and 24 percent for the year. Gold fell $4.80 to $1,198.
The deadline is today for people without health insurance to gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The original deadline had already been postponed, and the law is allowing exceptions due to the signup issues with the Healthcare.gov website. Over a million people have enrolled already through the website, but there are concerns that many will forgo seeking coverage.
Retail giant Target is being sued for the data theft of nearly 40 million credit and debit card accounts. Three class action lawsuits have been filed, two in California and one in Oregon. State officials in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and South Dakota are launching inquiries into a possible multiple state investigation. The company offered 10 percent discounts at all US stores over the weekend, and is providing at-risk customers free credit monitoring in the wake of this incident.
Tiffany & Co. has been ordered to pay $449 million to watchmaker Swatch Group following a breach of contract on their joint venture. The payment far exceeds the $285 million Tiffany has reportedly made thus far this year, although the company has said they have the funds to pay the penalty.
"The Hobbit" remained dominant at the pre-Christmas box office, pulling in $31.5 million in its second week, and beating the highly marketed "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" at $26.8 million. Disney's "Frozen" and "Saving Mr. Banks" came in third and fifth at the box office, respectively.