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Goldman Sachs turned in significantly better third-quarter results than expected, thanks to a long-awaited improvement in trading conditions for Wall Street banks.

Goldman’s profits rose to $2.24 billion, up 47% from the third quarter of 2013. The bank’s total sales rose 25%, to $8.39 billion. (Reuters)

Mattel Inc's revenue fell for the fourth straight quarter as demand for its billion-dollar brands, Barbie and Fisher-Price, slipped further, increasing pressure on the toymaker as it heads into the holiday shopping season. Barbie made her debut in 1959, but the doll has fallen out of favor with fickle-minded young girls, who are reaching for electronic toys such as tablets. In 2009, Barbie held more than a quarter of the market share in the dolls & accessories category in the United States, but that fell to 19.6% in 2013.  (Fox Business News)

There is a downside to lower oil prices we will pay for later.  The global crash in crude prices is reverberating through the oil and gas industry, pressuring producers to curtail investment to protect profits and avoid cuts to dividend payments.  Projects in the Canadian oil sands, offshore fields in Norway and drilling-intensive U.S. shale deposits are among the most vulnerable as oil prices come perilously close to production costs. The world’s largest oil companies have rarely spent so much for so little reward. (Bloomberg)

Just how bad a job have we been doing saving for retirement? A majority of U.S. seniors would be poor if Social Security were excluded from their incomes, according to a report on poverty released by the Census Bureau on Thursday.  If the Census were to exclude Social Security benefits from income, the poverty rate for American seniors would jump from 14.6% to a whopping 52.6%—roughly 23.4 million people. The nation’s overall poverty rate would rise to 24.1% from 15.5%. (Wall Street Journal)

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