News roundup: U.S. economy grew 1.7% in 2Q … Japan's Daikin to buy Houston firm for $3.7B … Ford breaks ground on new plant in eastern China
Growing pains: The U.S. economy grew at a 1.7% annual rate in the April-June quarter, boosted by slightly stronger consumer spending and greater exports. The Commerce Department reports this morning that growth was marginally better than its initial estimate of 1.5%. Economists expect some expansion in the second half of the year, after having seen more positive data in July. But most believe the economy will keep growing at the subpar rate of around 2%, which is not enough to lower the unemployment rate. Get all the details in the full story here.
Securing global domination: Daikin Industries plans to buy Houston-based Goodman Global Group Inc., a purchase that will fortify the Japanese company's status as the world's biggest maker of residential heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems. Daikin announced today its board approved the $3.7 billion deal as part of its strategy for expanding in the U.S. residential market. Daikin is already the world's biggest HVAC maker, with over $15 billion in sales in 2011. Acquiring Goodman would put it even further ahead of the world's No. 2 HVAC maker, China's Zhuhai Gree Group, with sales of about $13.3 billion. Get the full story here.
Looking far off into the East: Ford Motor Co. is developing a lower-priced small car for the Chinese market but has no plans to start a separate, cheaper brand in China as rivals General Motors and Volkswagen have done. Ford executives discussed their plans during a three-day tour that ended today at the groundbreaking of a new assembly plant in the eastern city of Hangzhou. The $760 million plant, which is Ford's first plant on the populous east coast of China, is expected to open in 2015. The full story is available here.
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