By Kim Dixon and Eric JohnsonWASHINGTON/CHICAGO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - The number of donors who raise big money for President Barack Obama jumped in the last three months as he builds a war chest for what will likely be the costliest presidential election ever.At least forty-one people have raised at least half a million dollars for the president, compared to 27 in Obama’s first report, according to an analysis of campaign data released on Friday.The big donors, known as “bundlers,” are typically well-connected people who pledge to gather tens of thousands of dollars for a candidateFormer Goldman Sachs executive Jon Corzine and Dreamworks Animation chief executive executive Jeffrey Katzenberg are on Obama’s elite list and raised $500,000 or more.The president’s campaign finance report shows he can still pull in major cash despite a stagnant economy, dipping approval ratings and grumblings among some liberal supporters that he has not done enough for their cause.While still keeping ties to his famed small donor operation, Obama is relying heavily on major donors early on to finance a campaign that is likely to break records in spending, according to Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance expert at Colby College.”The emphasis has been on doing larger dollar fundraising events particularly asking for $2,500,” Corrado said. “Events like this help him to raise substantial amounts of money for the campaign allowing him to exceed his pace for 2007.”Obama and the Democratic National Committee have raised more than $150 million so far for his bid for a second term, far outstripping Obama’s Republican rivals. Bundlers raised about a third of that haul.Earlier on Friday, Republican Mitt Romney posted $14 million for the quarter, second to fellow Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry’s $17 million. Obama’s comparable fundraising figure for the three months was $43 million.Obama voluntarily releases a list of bundlers. No other major candidate has done so.The president regularly brings in more than $1 million in a single evening of fundraising, as supporters donate the legal maximum of $35,800 to his campaign and the Democratic party for the chance to have dinner and take a picture with the president.UBS executive Robert Wolf and hedge fund executive Orin Kramer are also big Obama fundraisers.SMALL DONORSAt least 40 percent of all the money raised by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee last quarter came from those giving in increments of $200 or less.The Obama campaign has been touting its connections to mainstream Americans who send smaller checks, calling itself a grassroots effort.”They are still doing well with small donors,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, a thank tank.The campaign said that in the third quarter about 600,000 people donated to the campaign.Much has been made of dipping support among Wall Street for Obama. Some financial executives, including hedge fund managers, have complained about Obama’s tax and financial regulation policies and his comments about the wealthy, at times calling them “fat cats.”In the second quarter, more Wall Street money did flow to Romney, who has deep ties there. Still, Obama boosted the number of bundlers with Wall Street ties in that period.But fundraising prowess doesn’t guarantee victory for the incumbent, who is fighting for re-election amid a economic stagnation and high unemployment.”Every bit of news like this gives people a certain degree of confidence that they are on the right train,” said Paul Gray, a Chicago art dealer who is raising money for Obama.”But the most compelling kind of data that we could receive right now is positive financial data about the U.S. economy.”
“The net profit reduction was caused by a loss on discontinued operations related to disposal of (power company) OGK-3 shares, amounting to $560 million,” it said in a statement.Revenue rose by 24 percent to $7.3 billion from $5.9 billion in the first half of 2010, Norilsk said in the statement.Revenue from metals sales also rose by 24 percent year-on-year to $6.96 billion, it said.
PARIS Oct 12 (Reuters) - Casino kept its ambitious growth goals on Wednesday as it bucked a gloomy retail sector with a 21.2 percent rise in third-quarter sales, thanks to robust emerging markets as well as acquisitions in Brazil and Thailand.Casino, which competes with Carrefour and privately-held French retail chains Leclerc, Intermarche and Auchan, stuck by its target of annual sales growth of over 10 percent in the next three years.While reporting slowing growth in France, Casino confirmed its full-year goals, which include boosting market share at home and achieving “high and profitable” growth abroad, where it now makes 46 percent of its sales.Casino’s third-quarter sales rose to 8.705 billion euros ($11.9 bln), broadly in line with the 8.72 billion forecast in a Reuters poll of 11 analysts.Stripping out acquisitions and currency effects, underlying growth was 6.3 percent for the group and 13.1 percent for international markets.Casino, which operates in 10 countries with a network of over 10,000 stores, said international sales growth was driven by Brazil, Colombia, Thailand and Vietnam.Strong growth abroad made up for a more moderate pace in France, which still benefited from Casino’s Cdiscount e-commerce stores and the good showing of convenience stores, notably Monoprix.Excluding fuel, underlying sales growth in France slowed to 1.2 percent in the quarter from 2.2 percent in the first half.This notably reflected lower discretionary non-food sales at the Geant hypermarkets, which fell 7.3 percent in the quarter.Casino also reiterated a target to raise more than 1 billion euros from asset sales this year as it looks to reduce debts. Another goal is to keep its net debt to EBITDA ratio below 2.2 times at end-2011.($1 = 0.733 Euros)