Last-minute cold weather brings little relief to U.S. apparel

Apparel retailers saw a boost of no more than $200 million in sales from cold weather just before the new year, and with product markdowns above 50 percent, it will be very difficult to make up margins in the coming months, industry researchers said. Shoppers came out to spend on winter apparel in the last two weeks of December as cold weather finally rolled in after an unseasonably warm run-up to the holiday. Holiday sales are a major influence on retailers' financial health, and department stores like JCPenney and Macy's are some of the most affected from warm weather slowing apparel sales, according to consultants.

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Last-minute cold weather brings little relief to U.S. apparel

Ackman’s fund sells 5 million Valeant shares to generate tax loss

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss BOSTON (Reuters) – Billionaire investor William Ackman said on Thursday he sold about 5 million shares in drug company Valeant International in order to generate a tax loss as investors in his Pershing Square Capital Management face the biggest loss in the company's history. Ackman's hedge fund now owns 29.1 million shares in Valeant, or 8.5 percent of the company, down from 34.1 million shares, or 9.9 percent, according to a regulatory filing made after the market closed on Thursday, the last trading day of 2015. Pershing Square sold shares in its two on-shore portfolios in order to generate a tax loss for investors while the two off-shore portfolios did not sell any shares, the filing said.

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Ackman’s fund sells 5 million Valeant shares to generate tax loss

Oil ends 2015 down 35 percent; long, painful hangover seen

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday but fell as much as 35 percent for the year after a race to pump by Middle East crude producers and U.S. shale oil drillers created an unprecedented global glut that may take through 2016 to clear. Global oil benchmark Brent and U.S. crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose between 1 and 2 percent on the day on short-covering and buying support in a thinly traded market ahead of the New Year holiday. The U.S. shale industry, meanwhile, surprised the world again with its ability to survive rock-bottom crude prices, churning out more supply than expected, even as the sell-off in oil slashed by two-thirds the number of drilling rigs in the country from a year ago.

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Oil ends 2015 down 35 percent; long, painful hangover seen

Apple shares to close year with worst performance since 2008

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed NEW YORK (Reuters) – Shares of Apple Inc, the largest U.S. company by market value, are set to finish the year in the red on notable weakness for a stock that had largely been impervious to pain for several years. * Apple Inc shares are on track to finish the year down 4 percent, its first down year since 2008. * Declines this year have wiped out about $57 billion in Apple's market capitalization, about as much as fellow Dow component DuPont Co is worth.

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Apple shares to close year with worst performance since 2008

American Airlines merges operations of unit U.S. Airways

(Reuters) – American Airlines Group Inc said its unit U.S. Airways Group merged with the company, as part of efforts to integrate operations of the businesses following a merger in 2013. American Airlines Group, the owner of American Airlines, said U.S. Airways Group and its airline U.S. Airways ceased to exist as a separate entity effective Dec. 30, 2015. “With US Airways merged into American Airlines and U.S.

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American Airlines merges operations of unit U.S. Airways

Jobless claims rise sharply during holiday week

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, a potential signal the job market was losing steam although some of the increase might be attributed to temporary holiday factors. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 20,000to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 for the week ended Dec.26, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday. Many economists expect a slower pace of job market improvement in 2016 even as the unemployment rate falls further from its current 5 percent.

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Jobless claims rise sharply during holiday week

Oil bogs down Wall St. as S&P 500 clings to gain for 2015

(Reuters) – Wall Street dropped on Wednesday as Brent crude slid towards 11-year lows and Apple weighed on the S&P 500 index, which clung to a meager gain for 2015.

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Oil bogs down Wall St. as S&P 500 clings to gain for 2015

Oil down more than 3 percent on U.S. crude build; Brent near 2004 low

By Barani Krishnan NEW YORK (Reuters) – Crude prices fell more than 3 percent on Wednesday, with Brent sliding toward 11-year lows, after an unusual build in U.S. stockpiles and signs Saudi Arabia will keep adding to the global oil glut. Crude inventories in the United States, the world's largest petroleum producer, rose 2.6 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. Stockpiles hit record highs at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub for U.S. crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures.

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Oil down more than 3 percent on U.S. crude build; Brent near 2004 low

Puerto Rico to default on some debts, will pay GO debt

By Nick Brown SAN JUAN (Reuters) – Puerto Rico will default for the second time in five months, but will pay the bulk of $1 billion due on Jan. 4, including its most senior debt, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said on Wednesday. The Caribbean island's biggest payment, $328.7 million due in general obligation debt, will be paid, the governor told reporters at a press conference in San Juan. A default on general obligation debt would have been seen as a more serious move because those bonds have the strongest legal protections of any of the island's obligations.

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Puerto Rico to default on some debts, will pay GO debt

Apple to pay Italy 318 million euros, sign tax deal – source

By Emilio Parodi and Agnieszka Flak MILAN (Reuters) – Apple Inc will pay Italy's tax office 318 million euros ($348 million) to settle a dispute over allegations it failed to pay taxes for six years, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. The deal comes as the European Union and national governments take a tougher stand against profit-shielding arrangements used by multinational companies. Italian prosecutors have been investigating allegations that Apple failed to pay corporate taxes to the tune of 879 million euros in 2008-2013 by reducing its taxable income when it booked profits generated in Italy through its Irish subsidiary, sources told Reuters earlier this year.

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Apple to pay Italy 318 million euros, sign tax deal – source