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Briefs

Increase in US wealth a good sign for economy

Americans’ wealth reached an all-time high this summer, buoyed by record-setting stock prices and a healthy recovery in home values.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that U.S. net worth, a measure of household wealth, rose 2.6 percent to $77.3 trillion from July through September. Net worth reflects the value of homes, stocks, bank accounts and other assets minus mortgages, credit cards and other debts.

Rising stock prices boosted Americans’ net worth by $917 billion. Higher home values added another $428 billion.

The increase in net worth is an encouraging sign for the economy. As Americans gain wealth, they typically spend more, and that drives faster growth.

End of Fed stimulus expected in 2014

The vast majority of business economists believe the Federal Reserve will begin to pull back on its massive economic stimulus program in the first three months of 2014, according to a November survey done by the National Association of Business Economists.

The survey also showed that a majority of economists believe the United States’ economic recovery will accelerate next year.

NABE surveyed 51 economists between Nov. 8 and Nov. 19 and found that 62 percent of respondents believe the Fed will pull back on its bond-buying program in the first quarter of 2014.

Another 30 percent believe the Fed will begin to reduce its bond buying in the second quarter of 2014.

Combined, nine out of 10 economists believe the Fed’s stimulus program will wind down next year.

The Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion in bonds each month in an effort to keep interest rates low and stimulate the economy.

McDonald’s US sales fall below estimates

McDonald’s sales funk worsened in November as rivals lured away diners amid the choppy economic recovery.

Sales at U.S. stores open at least 13 months dropped 0.8 percent in November, McDonald’s Corp. said in a statement Monday. Analysts projected a 0.3 percent gain, the average of 14 estimates from Consensus Metrix.

Global same-store sales rose 0.5 percent.

The world’s largest restaurant chain has been revamping its menu and trying to improve service to attract Americans amid fierce competition. Burger King recently introduced new items similar to McDonald’s fare, including barbecue rib sandwiches and Big King burgers. Taco Bell is selling breakfast foods and value packs of tacos.

Last year, sales from U.S. locations accounted for 32 percent of McDonald’s revenue.

Airbus parent EADS to cut 5,800 jobs

European air and defense company EADS, the parent company of Airbus, said Monday it will cut 5,800 jobs during the next two years as part of a major overhaul to reduce costs and refocus on civil aviation.

The company said in a statement that the jobs would be eliminated from its corporate and space and defense divisions by the end of 2016. The many space and defense divisions will be combined into one arm, to be called Airbus DS.

EADS, which is changing its overall name to Airbus, is also getting rid of its corporate headquarters, just outside Paris, and moving staff to another site, also outside Paris.

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