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The Business Matrix: Saturday 26 January 2013

Snow hits John Lewis's sales

John Lewis sounded the alarm bell for Britain's retailers when it warned that snow had hit sales. The department store said sales rose 6.7 per cent to £59.5m during the week ending 19 January. The previous week they had grown by 18.7 per cent. IHS Global Insight's Howard Archer said the data highlighted the "very real risk" that January's snow and ice could lead to the economy contracting in the first quarter of 2013.

Apple no longer No1 as stock falls

The stock market added insult to the deep wounds endured by Apple after it disappointed investors with its results this week, driving down its share price to the point where it lost its crown as the world's most valuable company. Apple's stock fell by around 2 per cent to $441.3 at one point in early trading yesterday. That gave the Californian tech giant a market capitalisation of $417bn, lower than Exxon Mobil.

Geithner: I won't lead Central Bank

Tim Geithner has had his fill of public office, with the outgoing US Treasury Secretary firmly ruling out the possibility that he could be lured back with the offer of Ben Bernanke's job when the central banker steps down as the head of the Federal Reserve. In an interview with Politico, Mr Geithner ruled out a move to the nation's central bank.

Goldman's boss defends tax ploy

Goldman Sachs' chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, defended the investment bank's plans to defer bonuses to benefit from the looming cut in the top rate of income tax to 45p. Mr Blankfein dropped the plans in the face of public criticism, but told BBC Radio 4's Today that people should not be blamed for responding to incentives in the tax system.

Broker says share trading now stable

Stockbroker Charles Stanley said share trading volumes have stabilised, albeit at the reduced levels they crashed to a year ago. The broker said revenues in its third quarter to December had shot up by 13.5 per cent to £31.1m, but it pointed out that the comparison was with the same period in 2011, when share trading collapsed as investors fretted over the eurozone and the global economy.

Procter & Gamble cheers Wall Street

The consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble cheered Wall Street yesterday with evidence that the company's attempts to reignite growth by cutting costs and refocusing efforts on its position in developed markets were paying off. The business booked earnings of around $4.1bn in the three months to December, the second quarter of its 2013 fiscal year.

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