Financial
Wal-Mart lowers 4Q, full-year profit expectations PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 15:31

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart said Friday that key earnings figures may come in at the low end or below its prior forecasts for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year. It also said a widely-watched sales metric for the fourth quarter which includes the holiday season will be lower than its previous forecast.

The news initially sent Wal-Mart shares lower but they were up by early afternoon.

The world's biggest retailer said the lower earnings outlook reflect accounting for some Brazil-related charges and other items. Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said in a statement that these items were not anticipated when Wal-Mart previously provided its forecasts.

The lowered outlook for sales at stores open at least a year was due in part to eight winter storms that resulted in some store closings, Holley said. He added that its Sam's Club locations were hurt by weather throughout the quarter.

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U.S. consumer spending up 0.4 percent in December PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer   
Friday, 31 January 2014 10:49

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their spending at a solid pace for the second straight month in December even though their income was flat.

Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, compared with November when spending had increased an even stronger 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That was the best gain in five months.

Income, however, showed no gain at all in December after a 0.2 percent rise in November. Wages and salaries were basically flat last month, reflecting a sharp slowing in employment growth.

For all of 2013, income growth was 2.8 percent, the weakest performance since 2009 when income fell 2.8 percent as the country struggled with a deep recession.

Economists are hoping that stronger economic growth will promote stronger employment and income gains this year.

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Catholic diocese in Montana files for bankruptcy protection PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MATT VOLZ, Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 11:27

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, Mont., is filing for bankruptcy protection amid lawsuits that claim clergy members abused 362 children over decades.

Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said in a statement Friday the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case will help resolve the abuse claims.

The diocese covers western Montana and employs about 200 people.

The two lawsuits filed in 2011 claim clergy members abused the children from the 1930s to the 1970s. They claim the diocese shielded the offenders and knew or should have known the threat they posed.

The plaintiffs, the diocese and the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province held three mediation sessions, but the talks faltered with challenges by the church's insurers over the claims they must cover.


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Honda 3Q profit doubles, sales get weak yen boost PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer   
Friday, 31 January 2014 07:17

TOKYO (AP) — Honda's quarterly profit doubled from a year earlier as sales got a big perk from a weak yen.

Honda Motor Co. reported on Friday a 160.7 billion yen ($1.58 billion) net profit for the October-December fiscal third quarter, up from 77.4 billion yen the year before.

The maker of the Fit subcompact, Odyssey minivan and Asimo humanoid, posted a 25 percent jump in quarterly sales to 3.02 trillion yen ($29.6 billion).

A favorable exchange rate helped Honda's fortunes. The dollar has been trading above 100 yen compared with about 80 yen a year earlier. A weak yen helps lift the value of Japanese exporters' overseas revenue.

About 425 billion yen ($4.2 billion) of Honda's sales and other operating revenue was due just to a favorable currency for the quarter.

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