Dec. 11 - Summary of business headlines: Apple rebounds from tax-worry selling; Dollar retailers falling prey to one another; Mobile, social media leading retail season; Delta and Virgin agree to tie-up. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street closes at its highest point since the presidential election led by a rebound in Apple shares. Apple led the Nasdaq to a 1.2 percent rally and tech stocks helped the Dow and S&P 500 close higher as well. Investors decided Apple was cheap enough to get back in after the once-favored stock lost one-fourth of its value since hitting an all-time high in September. Many analysts pinned that selling on profit-taking ahead of possible higher tax rates next year. One group left out of the Tuesday rally, budget retailers. Dollar General and Family Dollar were down sharply after Dollar General said cut-throat competition for low-end consumers will threaten profits next year. As for this year, consumers with a higher budget are increasingly using mobile devices and social media to get the best deals, as revealed in an updated study by IBM. Jay Henderson is strategy director at IBM Smarter Commerce. SOUNDBITE: JAY HENDERSON, STRATEGY DIRECTOR, IBM SMARTER COMMERCE, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Mobile had a breakout year. We saw traffic numbers sustain between 20 and 25% of all online traffic came from mobile devices. And between 15 and 20% of all online sales came from mobile devices, that includes smartphones and tablets. Mobiles absolutely are just having great shopping season." Delta Air Lines has agreed to take a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million, giving the No. 2 U.S. air carrier greater access to London's Heathrow airport, one of the busiest in the world. For its part, Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic will get access to Delta's base of corporate frequent fliers. Delta CEO Richard Anderson details how Virgin fits into his overall growth strategy. SOUNDBITE: RICHARD ANDERSON, CEO, DELTA AIR LINES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The goal is to build a sustainable enterprise for our shareholders, our employees, and our customers over the long term. We are all about changing the model of the United States airline business into a long-term sustainable enterprise that provides superior returns for our shareholders, takes good care of our employees and building an airline that customers prefer over all others in the world." Investors like the plan, giving shares of Delta a 5 percent bounce. Turning to Europe, shares there also saw a lift, touching an 18-month high on signs of a rebound in the German economy.