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S&P downgrades Spain’s debt rating

NEW YORK — Standard & Poor’s downgraded its rating on Spain’s debt Wednesday by two notches, leaving it on the cusp of junk status.

A grinding recession, high unemployment and social unrest are limiting the government’s options for stemming the country’s financial crisis, S&P said.

The credit-rating agency now rates debt issued by Spain BBB-, its lowest investment-grade status. It had been BBB+.

S&P also assigned a negative outlook to the rating, saying it could be further downgraded if Spain’s economic conditions erode further.

PC sales down but phones, tablets up

NEW YORK — Worldwide shipments of PCs fell sharply in the third quarter, as some consumers spent their electronics dollars on smartphones and tablets and others held off for a new version of Windows.

One research firm also estimated Wednesday that Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd. outsold Hewlett-Packard Co. for the first time to become the world’s largest seller of PCs.

Gartner said global PC shipments fell 8.3 percent to 87.5 million, while IDC said the decline was 8.6 percent to 87.8 million. Their reports came hours after a third research firm, IHS iSuppli, projected that PC shipments are bound for their first annual decline in 11 years.

FedEx plans cuts to restore profits

NEW YORK — FedEx Corp., the world’s second-largest package delivery company, on Wednesday detailed its plan to boost profit by $1.7 billion annually by shedding jobs, aircraft and underused assets.

FedEx aims to reach that goal within three years through cost cuts and efficiency improvements. The much anticipated restructuring is a response to a shift by customers to slower, less expensive means of delivery as the global economy struggles to grow.

Founder and CEO Fred Smith said most of the cost cuts will come in the company’s Express and Services units, which have been hurt the most by the global economic conditions. Smith said a voluntary buyout program announced in August should reduce “fixed head count by several thousand people.” A majority of those employees are in the U.S.

– Associated Press


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