October 26, 2013

Briefcase

From staff and news service reports

Cruise ship to visit Portland with 2,100 aboard Saturday

Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas will dock at Ocean Gateway’s Pier 2, Berth 2, in Portland from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with 2,100 passengers.

Consumer confidence fell as shutdown worries rose

U.S. consumer confidence fell in October as concern grew that the government shutdown and political fight over the borrowing limit would slow growth.

The University of Michigan said its index of consumer sentiment fell to 73.2 from 77.5 in September. The index has fallen for three straight months after reaching a six-year high of 85.1 in July.

A measure of Americans’ expectations for future growth fell to its lowest level since late 2011, pulling down the overall index.

“Consumers have increasingly moved toward the view that the government has become the primary obstacle to more robust economic growth,” the survey said.

UPS expects more volume in shorter shopping season

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.

UPS, based in Atlanta, predicted that it will pick up more than 34 million packages on the busiest day, Monday, Dec. 16. UPS predicts deliveries will peak at 29 million the next day.

The company plans to hire 55,000 seasonal employees.

That’s the same number as last year, but this year’s group may feel a lot busier. 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.

United Parcel Service Inc. expects that Cyber Monday on Dec. 2 will see a 10 percent increase in pickup volume, surpassing 32 million packages.

UPS’ rival FedEx Corp. said it expects Dec. 2 to be its busiest day of the holiday season. FedEx expects to carry more than 22 million shipments that day. It expects to hire slightly more than the 20,000 seasonal workers it added last year.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac ending their pension plan

Federally backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are pulling the plug on their pension plan at the end of the year at the urging of its federal oversight agency, according to a memo the companies sent to staff Friday morning.

Company officials had frozen pension contributions earlier this year but decided to eliminate the programs altogether. The actions are being taken at the urging of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie.

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