Financial
Toyota profit up 5-fold on weak yen, good sales PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 07:32

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. reported a more than fivefold jump in its quarterly profit Tuesday and raised its earnings forecast, crediting a weak yen and strong sales.

Toyota's profit for the October-December quarter totaled a better-than-expected 525.4 billion yen ($5.2 billion), up dramatically from 99.9 billion yen a year earlier. Quarterly sales jumped 24 percent to 6.585 trillion yen ($64.2 billion).

Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a 437 billion yen ($4.3 billion) quarterly profit.

Toyota, the world's top selling automaker for the last two years straight, raised its profit and sales forecasts for the fiscal year ending March.

The upbeat outlook underlines a continuing recovery at Toyota, whose production was battered by a tsunami and earthquake in March 2011 in northeastern Japan.

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Shift in business focus boosts Panasonic earnings PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 07:25

OSAKA, Japan (AP) — Profit rose 20 percent at Panasonic Corp. in the October-December quarter as growth in businesses such as smart home systems offset its long struggling TV and appliance divisions.

The Japanese manufacturing giant on Tuesday reported net income of 73.7 billion yen ($728 million), up from 61.3 billion yen a year earlier.

Sales increased by 10 percent to 2.0 trillion yen, helped by steady new home construction in Japan, strong auto sales and the depreciation of the yen.

According to Hideaki Kawai, managing director in charge of accounting and finance, most business divisions had increases in overseas sales due to the weaker yen. They also benefited domestically from "last-minute demand" ahead of the April 1 increase in Japan's sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent.

Battered by competition from Samsung Electronics Co. and others, Panasonic has been trying to shift from consumer electronics, such as plasma TVs and smartphones, to more profitable businesses such as batteries, solar panels and home automation.

After two straight years of record losses, totaling $15 billion, the company raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year ending March to 100 billion yen from the 50 billion yen profit it forecast in October.


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Target data breach pits banks against retailers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 07:30

WASHINGTON (AP) — Banks and big retailers are locked in a debate over the breach of consumer data that gripped Target Corp. during the holiday season. At issue: Which industry bears more responsibility for protecting consumers' personal information?

The retailers' argument: Banks must upgrade the security technology for the credit and debit cards they issue.

The banks' counterargument: Newer electronic-chip technology wouldn't have prevented the Target breach. And retailers must tighten their own security systems for processing card payments.

The finger-pointing is coming from two industries with considerable lobbying might. Their trade groups have been bombarding lawmakers with letters arguing why the other industry must do more — and spend more — to protect consumers.

"Nearly every retailer security breach in recent memory has revealed some violation of industry security agreements," the Independent Community Bankers argued last month. "In some cases, retailers haven't even had technology in place to alert them to the breach intrusion, and third parties like banks have had to notify the retailers that their information has been compromised."

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Google told to move SF Bay 'mystery' barge PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARTHA MENDOZA, Associated Press MICHAEL LIEDTKE, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 07:11

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google does not have the proper permits for a mystery barge at a construction site on an island in San Francisco Bay, a state official said, and must move the floating, four-story building that drew wide attention and fueled weeks of speculation when it was erected last fall.

"It needs to move," Larry Goldzband, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, said Monday.

The commission investigated numerous complaints and found that neither the Treasure Island Development Authority nor the city of San Francisco had applied for required permits for the work to be done at the site and could face fines and enforcement proceedings, Goldzband said.

Goldzband said Google can resolve the issue by moving the barge to one of the fully permitted construction facilities in the San Francisco Bay.

Google Inc. said it is still reviewing a letter from Goldzband outlining the commission's concerns about the secretive project.

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