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    Gold’s set for a ‘Goldilocks’ year: Sharps Pixley

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Gold futures climbed on Monday, with prices holding ground at their highest in a month after two-consecutive sessions of price gains and last week’s less-than-stellar U.S. monthly jobs data. Analysts at Sharps Pixley said the metal’s poised to see a “Goldilocks” year, with prices scoring an average above the current level. Gold for February delivery /quotes/zigman/9159480/realtime GCG4 +0.10% tacked on $4.20, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,251.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange after trading in a tight range of around $12 an ounce between the day’s high and low. Prices closed at their highest since Dec. 11, according to FactSet data tracking the most-active contracts. Including Monday, they’ve tallied a three-session gain of...


    McKesson shares fall as distributor’s planned buyout of Celesio crumbles

    Shares of drug distribution giant McKesson Corp. tumbled Monday after the company said its plans to buy European rival Celesio AG had fallen through. McKesson /quotes/zigman/247413/delayed /quotes/nls/mck MCK shares were halted just prior to the announcement, which came shortly before 1 p.m. Eastern. When trading resumed, shares plunged by more than 6% but recovered somewhat. McKesson shares were off 4%, or $7.29 to $168.15 in recent action. Getty ImagesMcKesson said it was unable to get the necessary support of 75% of Celesio /quotes/zigman/422736/realtime DE:CLS1 shareholders in order to consummate the deal it for months had been hoping to complete. Celesio’s biggest shareholder, hedge fund Elliott Management, balked at the deal. John Hammergren, McKesson’s chief executive, told the JP Morgan Healthcare...


    Transition time in the rebounding U.S. auto industry

    For the first time in a decade there is optimism in Detroit. Not only is the blighted city slowly beginning a turnaround, the industry that gave it life is restructured and fit, having climbed back from near collapse in 2009. In 2013 U.S. brands accounted for 46% of U.S. sales, outselling their Japanese, Korean and German competitors. Light-vehicle sales climbed to 15.6 million, the highest level in six years. Want a car deal? Buy whatever your neighbor drives A resurgent General Motors held top place with an 18% market share. Ford followed with 16% and Chrysler had 12%. Toyota had 14% and Honda had 10% to lead the Asians. The Detroit 3 outpaced the competition with sales gains of over 9%. Bloomberg Enlarge Image Mary Barra of GM For the Detroit Three the watchwords in 2014 are change and transition....


    DOJ charges 3 Rabobank traders over Libor

    NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The government on Monday charged three former Rabobank traders with fraud, accusing them of manipulating a benchmark interest rate. The Justice Department says that the three traders, working in the U.K., Japan and Australia, rigged the yen London interbank offered rate, or yen Libor, by submitting false rates. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.


    Yum Brands China same-store sales rose in December

    Yum Brands Inc.’s China same-store sales rose an estimated 2% during December, increasing for a second straight month, but declined an estimated 4% for its fourth quarter. The restaurant company has been trying to recover from food-safety concerns related to KFC chicken suppliers more than a year ago. Yum in November began an advertising and social-media campaign to assure people that its food is safe. The company, which also operates Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, late last year promised major new initiatives to improve its KFC brand in China during 2014. The company on Monday reported that same-store sales rose 5% at its KFC China operations in December, but decreased 3% at Pizza Hut, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. For the fourth-quarter, the same-store...


    Nautilus shares rise on fourth-quarter outlook

    Nautilus Inc. /quotes/zigman/305721/delayed/quotes/nls/nls NLS +9.43% issued rosy preliminary results for the fourth quarter, as the fitness products company said sales grew across all business segments. The company’s outlook targets for the fourth quarter and all of 2013 exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, news that sent shares up 8.7% to $8.99 in after-hours trading. Earlier this year, Nautilus said improvements to its product line would help bolster retail revenue and operating results in the second half of 2013. The company’s direct business, meanwhile, has grown due to increased sales of new products and steady growth of existing cardio products. Chief Executive Bruce Cazenave said the company’s latest results affirmed “our plans and initiatives are working.”...


    U.S. budget deficit plunging in fiscal 2014

    The U.S. Treasury reported some positive fiscal news on Monday: For the first quarter of the fiscal year that began in October, the budget deficit was $120 billion lower compared with the same three months in the year-ago period. It was further confirmation that the deficit is falling as the economy improves, and the government spends less and collects more in revenue. The government’s fiscal year runs from October to September. To get an idea of how quickly the deficit is dropping, consider how much it fell from calendar year 2012 to 2013. For all of 2013, the deficit was $560.5 billion compared to $1.06 trillion in 2012. That’s a drop of about $500 billion. Three months into fiscal 2014, in other words, the deficit has dropped just over one-fifth of what it did in a whole calendar year. Numbers...


    Spotlight on the economy: Probably no holiday bonanza for retailers in December

    The amount of sales at retail stores is usually a good window in the U.S. economy, but the picture was hazy in December. Companies generated plenty of foot traffic in the final month of the year, but they also were forced to discount more heavily than usual to seal the deal with budget-hunting consumers and fend off the competition. What also weighed on the retail sector last month was a deceleration in auto sales from November’s post-recession high. U.S. retail sales are expected to decline by 0.1% overall, according to economists polled by MarketWatch. If autos are excluded, however, the industry could show a modest 0.4% gain. The report will be released at 8:30 a.m. by the Commerce Department. Investors will also scrutinize speeches by a pair of Federal Reserve bank presidents, Charles Plosser of...


    In Silicon Valley, $3 billion now price for start-ups

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Remember last year how investors considering investing in Faceook Inc.’s IPO were stunned at its deal to buy the photo-sharing app company Instagram for $1 billion? Then just a few months later came Yahoo Inc.’s deal to buy blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billon. Oh that was so first-half 2013. Now the new de facto price tag for a hot Silicon Valley start-up appears to have tripled. The founders of Snapchat, a revenue-free start-up that has created an ephemeral texting service, reportedly turned down an offer from Facebook for $3 billion. Bloomberg Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google Inc., wears Project Glass internet glasses On Monday, the founders of Nest Systems decided that $3.2 billion was just dandy and agreed to be acquired by Google Inc. /quotes/zigman/93888/delayed/quotes/nls/goog...


    Google raises some privacy issues with Nest buy

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarkeWatch) — Google Inc. already knows just about everywhere you go online, who you socialize with and controls how millions of people operate their Android-based smartphones. And now, the company is about to be able to reach into your home and keep track of how you like to set your thermostat. “I kind of think Google read ‘Big Brother’ and took it as a career goal.” Rob Enderle That’s the theory, to a degree, behind Google’s /quotes/zigman/93888/delayed/quotes/nls/goog GOOG +0.62% announcement late Monday, that it will acquire connected-device technology company Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. Nest is best-known for make smart thermostats and smoke alarms, and being co-founded by former Apple Inc. /quotes/zigman/68270/delayed/quotes/nls/aapl AAPL +0.11% executive Tony Faddell,...