Netflix earnings soar as it adds 3.6 million customers

Netflix Inc.’s attracted another 3.6 million customers to its video subscription service in the first quarter, the biggest growth spurt yet in a run that has established the company as a Hollywood power broker and Wall Street darling.

The financial results announced Monday topped analysts’ forecasts. But management offered a cautious outlook that included a second-quarter earnings projection below Wall Street estimates.

 

Kimberly-Clark to increase prices as costs cut profits

Kimberly-Clark Corp., the maker of Huggies and Kleenex, said Monday it plans to raise prices, its third such announcement since the middle of March.

The company said it’s merely passing along the higher prices that it has to pay for raw materials like oil and wood pulp. It also more than doubled its predictions for how much the prices for such commodities will increase.

 

Proctor & Gamble raising prices for some products

Shoppers could soon see higher prices for Pampers diapers, Charmin toilet paper and Bounty paper towels.

Procter & Gamble Co. said Monday it raised U.S. list prices for those products because of rising costs for pulp, oil and gas.

The consumer products maker, based in Cincinnati, informed retailers of increases last week. Retailers will decide how much of the price hikes to pass along to shoppers.

 

Gold-mining firm outbids Chinese offer for Equinox

Toronto mining company Barrick Gold Corp. said Monday it agreed to buy Equinox Minerals Ltd. for about $7.7 billion in cash, topping an offer from China earlier this month.

The purchase price is $8.57 per share. That’s a 9 percent premium to Equinox Minerals’ last trade, last week. It’s also 16 percent higher than China’s Minmetals Resources Ltd. offered.

Barrick Gold, already the world’s biggest gold miner, said the deal will put it in position for significant copper production growth in Chile, a country with some of the world’s most promising copper-producing regions.

 

Toyota’s car production plunges after tsunami

Toyota’s car production in Japan plummeted a staggering 62.7 percent in March due to a parts supply crunch following the earthquake and tsunami in that country.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s top-selling automaker last year, said Monday its domestic production in March was 129,491 vehicles – the lowest since 1976 when Toyota started keeping production figures.

The magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami on March 11 destroyed many factories in northeastern Japan, causing severe parts shortages for Toyota and other automakers.

 

Best Buy CEO sees pay drop by half to about $5 million

The CEO of Best Buy received a pay package worth about $5 million in the most recent fiscal year, half what he got the year before, as the largest U.S. electronics retailer faces a slowdown in demand as consumers change the way they buy electronics, according to a document filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Brian Dunn, 50, received a base salary of $1 million and a performance-based bonus of $746,667, down 75 percent from his performance bonus the year before. Dunn received option awards valued at $3.2 million when they were granted, down 48 percent.

 

Nintendo says Wii successor will hit shelves in 2012

The successor to Nintendo’s hit Wii console will arrive next year.

In disclosing its plans Monday, Nintendo Co. didn’t say what the new system will do. The Japanese company plans to demonstrate a model of the new console at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which runs June 7-9 in Los Angeles.

Nintendo has dominated sales of video game consoles and it’s sold 86 million Wii units since launching it in 2006. The Wii caused a splash with its innovative motion-sensing controller. Sports-style games such as baseball and boxing let players move their arms to simulate the pitching of a ball or the throwing of a punch. Nintendo also makes a step-board accessory, the Wii Fit, that allows players to do dance steps or yoga.

 

Walmart to test an online grocery delivery service

Walmart.com customers asked, and the world’s largest retailer delivered.

But only in San Jose, Calif.

On Saturday, the company began testing home grocery service here, as it tries to compete with similar offerings from online retailer Amazon.com and Safeway.

With the new “Walmart To Go,” customers can go online to order groceries and other items, including fresh produce, meat and seafood, baked goods, over-the-counter drugs, household supplies and health and beauty products. A minimum order of $49 is required, and the prices are the same as in the store.

Walmart will then drive the goods to customers’ homes as soon as the next day at whatever time customers choose, with a one-, two- or four-hour window – even up to three weeks in advance. Delivery charges range from $5 to $10, depending on the urgency. No tipping is allowed.