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Holiday spending may increase; other business briefs


Holiday spending plans increase

More New Yorkers plan to open their wallets a little wider this year to spend for the holidays compared to last year. About 13 percent of state residents plan to spend more, up from last year's 7 percent, according to a Siena Research Institute poll. The portion of New Yorkers who plan to curb holiday spending also decreased, to 16 percent from 21 percent last year. "By no means are New Yorkers planning a holiday spending frenzy, but every indicator is trending upwards," said Don Levy, director of the institute. He said it's hard to tell if superstorm Sandy had an effect on the poll results. "Clearly those people who were most affected have other things on their mind [than] whether or not they're going to go to the mall," he said Tuesday. "Collectively, there's a sense that it's still the holidays ... and there's more impetus to engage on holiday spending." -- Lisa Du

State sues Credit Suisse

New York is suing Credit Suisse Securities and affiliates, claiming they misled investors about the care taken in evaluating their residential mortgage-backed securities. The suit filed Tuesday in Manhattan under New York's Martin Act alleges Credit Suisse deceived investors before the 2008 market collapse. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the securities sponsored and underwritten by Credit Suisse in 2006 and 2007 have lost about $11.2 billion. Zurich-based Credit Suisse says Schneiderman "recycles baseless claims" from private lawsuits. Schneiderman is co-chair of a task force established by President Barack Obama to investigate misconduct in the pooling and sales of those securities. Last month he filed a similar lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co., alleging fraud by Bear Stearns before its 2008 collapse and subsequent sale to the New York bank.


Best Buy sales slump persists

Struggling Best Buy Co. reported another dismal quarter Tuesday, recording a third-quarter loss and continued sales slump. Adjusted for restructuring charges, it earned 3 cents per share, well below analysts' expectations. The news sent shares down 13.02 percent, to close at $11.96, their lowest level in more than two decades. "Best Buy's third-quarter financial performance was clearly unsatisfactory," said CEO Hubert Joly, the turnaround expert tapped to lead Best Buy in August. The electronics chain is trying to reverse a yearslong decline in its business as competition from online stores and discounters increases, and consumers' tastes shift from more profitable items like TVs and desktop computers toward less profitable smartphones and tablets. It's also facing a growing number of "showrooming" consumers, going to Best Buy stores to check out merchandise but buying it elsewhere.

HP-Autonomy fraud charges

Hewlett-Packard Co. said Tuesday it's the victim of a multibillion- dollar fraud at the hands of a British company it bought last year that lied about its finances. HP CEO Meg Whitman said executives at Autonomy Corp. Plc "willfully" boosted the company's figures through various accounting tricks, which convinced HP to pay $9.7 billion for the company in October 2011. Autonomy's former CEO said HP's allegations are false. HP is now taking an $8.8-billion charge to align Autonomy's purchase price with what HP now says is its real value. More than $5 billion of that charge is due to false accounting, HP said. The revelation is another blow for HP, which is struggling to reinvent itself as PC and printer sales shrink. Autonomy makes search engines that help companies find vital information stored across computer networks. The allegations are serious, accounting experts say. As a result of its alleged accounting practices, Autonomy appeared to be more profitable than it was and seemed to be growing its core software business faster than was actually the case. Once HP bought the company, Autonomy's reported revenue growth and profit margin quickly declined. -- AP


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