Factory output up for a 4th-straight month

U.S. factories increased output in November for the fourth-straight month, led by a surge in auto production. The gains show manufacturing is strengthening and could help boost economic growth at the end of the year.

Factory production rose 0.6 percent in November after a 0.5 percent gain in October, the Federal Reserve said Monday.

Production of motor vehicles and parts increased 3.4 percent, rebounding from a 1.3 percent decline in October. Factories also stepped up production of home electronics and chemicals.

Industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, rose 1.1 percent in November. It was the fourth straight gain.

Colder-than-average weather drove a 3.9 percent surge in utility production. Mining output jumped 1.7 percent to reverse a similar decline in October.

Overall production for the first time surpassed the peak set in December 2007, the month the Great Recession began. Output is now 21 percent above its recession low hit in June 2009, the month the downturn officially ended.

— Associated Press

Canada challenges Google’s practices

Canada’s Competition Bureau filed a legal motion against Google alleging that the company is abusing its dominant position among online search engines, joining U.S. and European antitrust authorities in challenging the Web giant’s practices.

The bureau commissioner, in a federal court filing dated Dec. 11, is seeking an order requiring Google to hand over information about its business practices, including contracts. Google did not respond to a request for comment.

The bureau said it has reason to believe that Google has, since at least 2005, engaged in anti-competitive behavior. That includes signing exclusive deals with mobile operating system developers, Web publishers and Web browser developers and giving preference to its own services, such as Google News, over competitors’ content. It also said Google has restricted the use of data from its AdWords program to licensees.

The bureau said that in meetings with Google, the search-engine company pointed to a similar investigation from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that was terminated after Google made commitments that included the removal of the AdWords restrictions. Google is currently trying to convince European antitrust regulators to wrap up a separate antitrust probe.

— Reuters

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