Fundamentals shake off stock doldrums
NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. markets effectively snuffed November's dreary performance in one day Wednesday with a surge provided by improved fundamentals.
Automatic Data Processing Inc. said 93,000 jobs were added to the economy October to November. The Institute of Supply Management said the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded for the 16th consecutive month. Even construction outlays rose in October, rising 0.7 percent, the Commerce Department said.
Increased concerns over government debt in Europe helped knock the Dow Jones industrial average back 1 percent for the month of November. December took a day to win that back and more.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average added 249.76 points or 2.27 percent to 11,255.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 25.52 or 2.16 percent to 1,206.07. The Nasdaq composite index added 51.20 or 2.05 percent to 2,549.43.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,353 stocks advanced and 682 declined on a volume of 3.8 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note lost 1 14/32 to yield 2.966 percent.
The euro rose to $1.3139 compared to Tuesday's $1.2981. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 84.15 yen from Tuesday's 83.7 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.51 percent, 51.01, to 9,988.05.
In London, the FTSE 100 index climbed 2.07 percent, 114.23, to 5,642.50.
U.S. automakers report November gains
DETROIT, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. automakers reported a sharp rise in sales in November compared to a year ago, with Ford Motor Co. leading the pack with a gain of 20 percent.
General Motors Co. said sales rose 11.4 percent compared to November a year ago. Its numbers were skewed, however, with comparison to a company that was struggling a year ago with Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer brands, which were wound down and Saab, which it sold this year.
Excluding the four brands it no longer operates, sales at GM rose 21 percent, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Sales at Chrysler LLC also jumped, rising 16.7 percent.
The three left the world's largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., in the dust. Sales at Toyota dropped 3.2 percent from a year ago, as the company's reputation has been hammered by a series of automobile recalls.
GM executive Jim Bunnell, once general manager of Buick, Pontiac, and GMC, told the Times: "Consumers are still cautious, but we're starting to see people who show an inclination to come back into dealerships and back into malls. As we go into 2011, we're going to continue to see a nice improvement."
After a prolonged slump that slammed into a sharp recession, automakers are looking for any toehold that will help build positive momentum. Chrysler is in the midst of a splurge of new releases. Ford has said it would produce 11 percent more vehicles in the first quarter of 2011 than the first quarter of 2010.
Both GM and Chrysler said this week they were looking to hire 1,000 engineers and technical staff to gear up for an era of smaller cars and alternative power trains. GM recently issued its initial public offering, raising $23.1 billion with its return to life as a public company after going through bankruptcy a year ago.
FTC backs consumer choices on data
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that Internet users should be given clearer choices about personal information that businesses collect.
In an 80-page report spelling out guidelines applicable to businesses and lawmakers, the FTC said "Industry must do better" in protection of privacy, which should be "a basic consideration."
The commission said commercial interests should build "privacy by design" into their business practices. The widely anticipated report, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change," also proposed consumers be given "a simpler, more streamlined way" to give consumers choices about what information is collected.
The premise of the report is that the Internet is rife with opportunity for abuse and with consumer vulnerability.
Information about consumers can be tracked if they "browse for products … participate in a social networking site … use location-enabled smartphone applications," and in a wide variety of other interactions with the digital world.
A consumer need not type in a name or an account number to be vulnerable. Online habits are frequently tracked, collected and analyzed.
The report said many do not care if their information is shared, while others "have no idea ... still others may be aware, but view it as a worthwhile trade-off" for using the Internet.
Chrysler to resurrect the Viper
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. automaker Chrysler confirmed Wednesday that its high-performance Viper, tucked away this summer, would not stay wrapped in moth balls for long.
After 18 years of producing the model, Chrysler stopped making the sports car in July. Now the automaker that merged with Fiat after emerging from bankruptcy in 2009 said it would have a 2013 model Viper in production in the summer of 2012.
The partnership with Fiat has fueled speculation the car will be outfitted with a Ferrari engine. Not so, said Ralph Gilles, head of the Dodge brand, the Detroit News reported.
Gilles said Chrysler planned to go through the car from top to bottom and leave nothing "untouched." But the car, he said, was its own boss.
The 2013 Viper "is not based on anything else," he said.
"The Viper cabin is very rearward and the hood is very long. Few cars in the industry are designed with those proportions anymore," he said.
He said Fiat would help "to open the (Viper's) performance envelope."
"Fiat has an awesome ability to tune cars. I want the new Viper to be a more forgiving car to drive and accessible to more people. We've never had stability control on a high-performance car, which is about to happen on the new car," he said.