Business digest, Oct. 26

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Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 12:00 am

UPS expects this holiday season to be busier than last, thanks to the growing popularity of online shopping. And more intense, thanks to the calendar.

The world's biggest package delivery company said Friday that it foresees peak season daily volume rising 8 percent this year.

It expects to deliver more than 29 million packages on Dec. 17, topping last year's peak-day deliveries by more than 1 million.

Besides the increased volume, there are just 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year, making it the most compressed holiday shopping season since 2002.

Meanwhile, in its earnings report Friday, UPS said a pickup in deliveries helped it more than double its profit from a year ago, to $1.1 billion. UPS delivered more than 1 billion packages in the quarter, an increase of 4.6 percent.

Procter & Gamble's fiscal first-quarter net income rose 8 percent as the world's largest consumer products company sold more of its detergent and diapers globally and cut costs.

The results were in line with Wall Street expectations and the company reaffirmed its 2014 forecast.

A jump in demand for commercial airplanes boosted orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods last month. But orders for most other goods fell as businesses cut spending, a possible sign of concern about the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1.

The Commerce Department said Friday orders for durable goods rose 3.7 percent in September, above the 0.2 percent gain in August. But a 57.5 percent jump in aircraft orders accounted for nearly all the gain.

U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in August by the most in seven months, a positive sign that many companies expected demand to rise.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.5 percent in August, the biggest gain since January, the Commerce Department said Friday. Sales also rose, climbing 0.6 percent, the fourth gain in five months.

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