Business news briefs: Fuel firm purchasing Eagle Ford assets

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Fuel firm purchasing Eagle Ford assets

Devon Energy Corp. is buying oil-producing assets and other property in the Eagle Ford in Texas from GeoSouthern Energy for $6 billion. Devon said the assets include current production of 53,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 82,000 net acres with at least 1,200 undrilled locations. The deal is expected to close in early 2014.

Consumers step up spending as fall begins

Consumers shrugged off the 16-day partial government shutdown and spent more on autos, clothing and furniture in October, boosting U.S. retail sales by the most in four months. Sales rose 0.4 percent, up from a flat reading in September, the Commerce Department said. Excluding sales at gasoline stations, retail spending rose an even stronger 0.5 percent. The gain indicates consumers stepped up spending at the start of the October-December quarter. Their spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Inflation remains mild amid drop at the pump

Cheaper gasoline lowered overall U.S. consumer prices slightly in October. But outside the steep drop at the pump, inflation stayed mild. The consumer price index fell 0.1 percent last month, down from a 0.2 percent increase in September, the Labor Department said. Excluding volatile energy and food costs, so-called core prices rose 0.1 percent in October from September and have risen just 1.7 percent over the past 12 months.

J.C. Penney's business stabilizing, although Q3 widens losses

J.C. Penney's loss widened in the third quarter, but its business is starting to stabilize heading into the holiday shopping season. The department store chain is trying to recover from a botched transformation plan spearheaded by former CEO Ron Johnson. The chain, based in Plano, Texas, said it lost $489 million, or $1.94 per share, in the three months that ended Nov. 2. That compares with a loss of $123 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 5.1 percent to $2.78 billion.

McDonald's lets individual sites make call on McRib

McDonald's, which has been struggling to juggle a variety of new menu items, says the McRib won't be available nationally this year. The fast-food chain is leaving it up to local franchise groups to decide whether to offer the pork sandwich. The lack of widespread availability in years past in some regions helped give the sandwich a fabled status.

Stockpiles gains noteworthy while sales see modest rise

U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in September by the largest amount in eight months while sales posted a modest gain. Business inventories rose 0.6 percent in September compared with August, the Commerce Department reported. Sales rose 0.2 percent. A big jump in restocking helped drive faster economic growth from July through September. But there is concern that a pullback in inventory rebuilding will dampen growth in the current quarter.

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