Business Highlights

AP News
Posted: Apr 13, 2011 6:15 PM
Business Highlights


JPMorgan's net soars 67 pct on economic recovery

JPMorgan Chase's earnings soared 67 percent in the first quarter on higher fees from investment banking and as fewer customers fell behind on their credit card bills. The bank recorded more losses from its mortgage business, and CEO Jamie Dimon said he didn't expect those problems to go away soon.

Outside of real estate, JPMorgan did well. The nation's second-largest bank by assets said more of its customers were paying on time. Only 3.25 percent of loan payments were late by 30 days or more, a drop of 0.41 percentage point from the previous quarter. Customers were also spending more. The volume of transactions on Chase credit cards rose 12 percent.


Consumers buy more retail goods in March

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumers spent more in March on furniture, electronics and at restaurants, but also paid more for gas.

Retail sales increased 0.4 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the ninth consecutive monthly gain.


Job openings rise to highest point since Sept.'08

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Businesses in February posted the largest number of job openings in more than two years, evidence that hiring is picking up as the economy grows.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that employers advertised 3.1 million available jobs that month, the most since September 2008. That was the height of the financial crisis, when Lehman Brothers collapsed.


Businesses boost stockpiles for 14th month

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Businesses added to their stockpiles in February for a 14th straight month and sales increased for an eighth consecutive month. The gains suggest factory orders will rise in the coming months.

Business inventories rose 0.5 percent in February, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Combined sales by manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers increased 0.2 percent during the month.


Fed survey: US economy improves in spring

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. economy improved in every region of the country this spring, but higher oil prices remain a concern, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve.

Factories were busier, consumers spent more and companies boosted hiring in all 12 of the regions surveyed by the Fed.

But the report also found that high energy prices are putting pressure on businesses to raise their prices. And workers are seeing limited, if any, pay increases because they lack leverage in market where jobs are still hard to find.


Obama: Cut spending, raise taxes on the wealthy

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama coupled a call for $4 trillion in long-term deficit reductions with a blistering attack on Republican plans for taxes, Medicare and Medicaid on Wednesday, laying down markers for a roiling debate in Congress and the 2012 presidential campaign to come.

Obama said spending cuts and higher taxes alike must be part of any deficit-reduction plan, including an end to Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. He proposed an unspecified "debt failsafe" that would go into effect if Congress failed to make sure the national debt would be falling by 2014 relative to the overall economy.


Japan economy assessment down due to tsunami

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan downgraded its economic outlook for the first time in six months on Wednesday, citing a drop in production and consumer spending following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The world's No. 3 economy has shown "weakness" and will remain sluggish for a while due to the fallout from the twin disasters and ensuing nuclear crisis, the Cabinet Office said in an April report.


Exxon CEO Tillerson's 2010 compensation was $21.5M

Exxon Mobil Corp.'s top executive received slightly lower compensation last year, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson received compensation worth $21.5 million, about 1 percent lower than the previous year, according to a company filing with the SEC.


Silgan buying Graham Packaging in $1.28B deal

Consumer packaging maker Silgan Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it will acquire Graham Packaging Co. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $1.28 billion.

The companies say the deal will save on costs and create a stronger force in packaging for beverage, food and consumer products ranging from sports drinks and beer to personal care products and motor oil.


By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.41, or 0.1 percent, to 12,270.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.25 point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,314.41. The Nasdaq composite gained 16.73, or 0.6 percent, to 2,761.52.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery gained 86 cents to settle at $107.11 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract is still down more than 5 percent for the week.

In other Nymex trading for May contracts, heating oil gained 3.02 cents to settle at $3.2028 per gallon, while gasoline futures gained 7.83 cents to settle at $3.2424 a gallon. Natural gas futures added 4.3 cents to settle at $4.141 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude rose $1.90 to settle at $122.33 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.