third quarter

U.S. Retirement Assets Declined by $1.4 Trillion

More ominous developments on the darkening retirement front: The total value of Americans' retirement assets stood at $17 trillion at the end of September -- a drop of 7.5% from the record high of $18.4 trillion recorded on June 30, 2011.

Retailers Prepare for an Uninspiring 2011

As retailers wrapped up their third-quarter earnings reports this week, most merchants said they're back in cost-control mode and will tighten inventories after the holidays. With shoppers still spending cautiously and costs on the rise, profit growth will have to come from squeezing more juice out of slowly rising sales.

Inventories Rise 0.9%, Suggesting Stronger Growth Ahead

In a sign that holiday sales season will be better than initially expected, business inventories rose 0.9% in September as companies re-stocked their shelves for the nation's busiest shopping period. The increase also suggests that third-quarter U.S. GDP growth figures may be revised upward.

Starbucks Serves Up No Earnings Surprises

Same-store sales were the big story in Wednesday's fiscal third quarter earnings report, and Starbucks delivered the iced frappuccinos, serving up a 9% increase over the third quarter 2009, a 6% increase in traffic and a 3% increase in average ticket.