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CEO Says P&G Preparing for Tough Economic Times

Procter & Gamble Corp. Chief Executive Robert McDonald says his company is preparing for a period of little or no economic growth in developed countries.

McDonald told reporters Wednesday in Singapore that he's concerned about the lack of growth in the U.S. He said his company's sales from October last year through to March this year in North America, Western Europe and Japan were flat.

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Standard Chartered Boosts Profits

Standard Chartered bank reported first half profits for the ninth consecutive year Wednesday and said it was successfully reaching out to burgeoning middle classes in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The bank reported a 20 jump in net profits to $2.5 billion, up from $2.1 billion the year before.

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U.S. Senate Approves Bill to Avert Debt Default

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to avert a disastrous debt default and cut trillions in government spending, sending the contentious bill to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

Lawmakers voted 74-26 to pass the measure -- which cleared the House of Representatives by an overwhelming 269-161 margin a day earlier -- with just hours to spare before a midnight (0400 Wednesday) deadline.

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HSBC to Hire 15,000 in Emerging Markets by 2014

Global banking giant HSBC said Tuesday it would hire thousands of people in emerging markets by 2014 as it looked particularly to Asia's booming financial sector to power future growth.

"We are planning to hire up to 15,000 people in emerging markets over the next three years," the bank's Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told a press briefing in Hong Kong Tuesday.

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Porsche Returns to Profit, Cautiously Upbeat on VW Merger

German luxury car group Porsche posted Tuesday a first-half net profit of 149 million euros ($212 million), bouncing back from a heavy loss as it slashed massive debt with a capital increase.

In the first half of 2010, Porsche SE, the group that controls Porsche AG, the maker of the iconic 911 sports car, suffered a net loss of 1.62 billion euros.

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Markets Fret Over U.S. Economy Despite Debt Deal

Global stock markets tumbled Tuesday after downbeat U.S. data fueled fears the world's largest economy might be sliding back into recession.

Oil prices fell to near $94 a barrel on expectations slowing global economic growth will reduce demand for crude.

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Group Buying Websites Battle for Middle East Shoppers with Online Bargains

Shoppers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among the wealthiest and most discerning in the world. Most major malls in Dubai, for instance, feature couture retailers usually associated in the United States with upscale fashion districts. It is not an uncommon sight to see shoppers with several large shopping bags, loaded into a cart just as a family buying groceries would, only the purchases being Gucci shoes and Louis Vuitton handbags. According to Business Monitor International, U.S.$31 billion worth of retail sales are expected this year in the UAE, and will top U.S.$41 billion in less than five years.

As there is more total retail space supply in the country than its entire population -- according to retail surveys, an estimated 5.75 million square meters by the end of 2014, or 1.27 square meters of shopping space for every UAE resident -- online retail has struggled to find room. Because of concerns about fraud, 45% of UAE shoppers said they would not buy online, according to a survey this year by MasterCard.

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Kuwait Seeks Bids to Buy Stake in National Carrier

Kuwait on Monday invited bids from local and international investors to buy a stake in Kuwait Airways as part of a privatization process to turn the loss-making airline into profit.

The privatization committee of Kuwait Airways said in a statement that interested parties should submit their "expression of interest" to participate in the bidding for 35 percent of the airline.

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HSBC Warns that it will Cut Up to 30,000 Jobs by 2013

HSBC will slash up to 30,000 jobs worldwide over the next two years as part of a major cost-cutting drive, the global banking giant said on Monday, as it posted bumper profits.

"There will be further job cuts," HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver told journalists on a conference call after the group published its interim results.

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Dollar Rises against Yen after U.S. Debt Deal

The dollar climbed against the yen in Asia on Monday, after U.S. President Barack Obama announced an 11th-hour agreement to raise the U.S. debt limit to avoid default that is pending approval by Congress.

The dollar was at 77.45 yen in Tokyo at 05:00 GMT after briefly rising above the 78 yen level, from 76.73 yen in New York late Friday.

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