Oct 15 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks rally, ending the Nasdaq's longest losing streak since November 2011; Citigroup tops forecasts excluding $4.7 billion charge; September retail sales rise more than expected but Jim Rogers doesn't trust the data. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street starts the week with a bounce thanks to earnings and encouraging retail sales data. The Nasdaq finally snapping a six-day losing streak, the longest decline since November 2011. Citigroup set the tone with better-than-expected profits. Excluding a $4.7 billion writedown for a joint venture it created during the financial crisis, the bank earned more than $3 billion last quarter, up from about $2.6 billion the same time a year ago. The mortgage side of the business was a boost, along with U.S. consumer banking. International results were lackluster. Shares of Citigroup rallied 5-1/2 percent. Retail sales were stronger than anticipated in September. Americans dug deeper for gasoline, but also did not shy away from buying cars, electronics, and just about everything else. But noted investor Jim Rogers is casting doubt on the numbers. SOUNDBITE: JIM ROGERS, CHAIRMAN, ROGERS HOLDINGS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I certainly know that the numbers coming out of the United States government are to be worried about. I am skeptical of them. I don't pay too much attention to them. First of all, they are always wrong...first of all they look backward, second they are always wrong, thirdly they are always revised." Wall Street, however, is looking at the data, which offers encouraging signs heading into the key gift buying season. On the deal-making front: Amazon.com is in serious talks to buy Texas Instruments' smartphone chip division, according to an Israeli financial newspaper. Amazon declined comment and Texas Instruments says it does not comment on rumors, but did it say it is exploring opportunities for that part of its business. In European action, Carlos Ghosn, head of Renault and Nissan, plans to boost cooperation and annual saving for the car companies to more than $5 billion by 2016, according to a source with knowledge of the plan. As for markets, stocks rallied on signs Spain is moving closer to asking for a bailout. Conway Gittens, Reuters