Business Briefs, December 16, 2015

US Industrial Production Registers Worst Month Since 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. industrial output fell for the third straight month in November, another sign that American manufacturers are under stress.

American industrial production dropped 0.6 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. It was the biggest drop since March 2012. Manufacturing output was flat after expanding 0.3 percent in October.

American industry is being hurt by economic weakness overseas and a strong dollar that makes U.S. goods more expensive in foreign markets. Still, the American economy is relatively healthy thanks to solid consumer spending.

FedEx Tops Street 2q Forecasts, Helped by Online Shopping

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – FedEx said that its quarterly profit rose 4 percent, helped by growth in online shopping and lower costs in its core express-delivery business.

The latest results cover the three months ending Nov. 30, capturing a sliver of the key holiday-shipping period. FedEx has predicted that year-end shipments would rise 12.4 percent over last year because of the continuing growth in online shopping.

The Memphis company on Wednesday reaffirmed its forecast for earnings in the fiscal year that ends in May.

Valeant’s Outlook for the Quarter, Year and 2016 Grows Grim

WASHINGTON (AP) – Embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc. has slashed its expectations for the fourth quarter and all of 2015 and issued a guarded outlook for 2016, primarily due to lower sales after Congressional and media scrutiny forced it to end a questionable distribution arrangement for its lucrative dermatology and ophthalmology medicines.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Pearson said Wednesday that Valeant should be judged based on its ongoing growth and strategy and its “great brands,” not its small research budget or the controversial business practices that have triggered government probes and created turmoil.