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Macro chatter: US economy slows down, Samsung's Galaxy beats Apple's iPhone

Around the world today in business and economics. Need to know, want to know, and strange but true.
Apple samsung 2012 03 02Enlarge
A man plays a game on the Samsung galaxy tab 10.1 during a promotional sale at a shop in Phnom Penh last October. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

Need to know:
US economic growth may have slowed down in the first quarter. 

The world's largest economy expanded by 2.2 percent, according to the latest report from the US government this morning. It had been expanding at an annual rate of about 3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. 

Among the report's bright spots: rising consumer spending driven by booming car sales. 

The number is an initial estimate likely to be revised in the coming months. 

Want to know:
Smartphone and social games are proving to be tough competition for Nintendo. The video game maker behind Super Mario Bros. on Thursday reported its first annual loss ever.

Nintendo said it lost $533 million last year as a strong yen dented profits and sales of Nintendo’s once blockbuster Wii continued to wane.

It’s of course not game over for Nintendo. The company, which started out making playing cards in Kyoto in 1889 has a 2D version of Super Mario and a new Wii in the works.

Dull but important:
Spain’s credit rating got bumped down
for the second time this year as Spanish unemployment rose to a new record.

Standard & Poor’s cut Spain’s rating to BBB+, saying it believed the government might have to take on additional debt to prop up Spanish banks.

Spain’s debt level has nearly doubled since 2008.

Elsewhere in Europe, Netherlands is feeling the heat from Fitch, which has said it could downgrade the country’s AAA rating unless it gets control of its budget, and Italy's borrowing costs are climbing toward the troublesome 6 percent mark.

Just because:
Apple may have the iPhone, but Samsung has the Galaxy, and that device helped it beat Nokia to become the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phone handsets. 

One in four mobile phones shipped last quarter were from the Samsung, which also is the world's biggest TV manufacturer, a new industry report showed.

The company sold nearly 50 million handsets in the first quarter, more than the 35 million iPhones Apple said it sold

Strange but true:
It turns out all that many Americans aren’t retiring to cheap foreign paradises.

Of the 36 million retired Americans receiving social security benefits, just 1.5 percent collect their checks outside of the US, Time said. And those who do often aren’t saving money while strolling the beaches of Costa Rica or Belize. Instead they’re retiring to more expensive countries like Canada, Japan and the UK.

One reason why? They’d like to keep working, according to a survey from Charles Schwab.

Beach bum paradises aren’t always good for that.

 

 


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter-us-economy-slows-down