Disney reports second-quarter net income slips

The Walt Disney Co. says its second-quarter net income slipped 1 percent to miss analyst expectations as its amusement parks were hurt by the Japan earthquake and tsunami and the shift in the Easter holiday. Studio profit also was hit by the poor box office performance of “Mars Needs Moms.”

Net income for the three months ended April 2 fell to $942 million, or 49 cents per share, from $953 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 6 percent to $9.08 billion from $8.58 billion a year earlier.

Google music service opens with limitations

Google Inc. unveiled its long-planned music service Tuesday, but it will likely need deals with the recording industry to reach its full potential.

Called “Music Beta by Google,” the service lets users store their tunes remotely and access them from any compatible device, including mobile phones, tablets and computers. So far, it does not offer music downloads or song sales and it doesn’t let people listen to music they haven’t physically uploaded.

The service will be available by invitation only starting Tuesday, free of charge while it is being tested. Google announced the new service at its yearly conference for software developers in San Francisco. It did not say whether, or how much, it plans to charge.

SEC considers easing rules for private company stock

The Securities and Exchange Commission is open to easing rules for private companies that issue stock, the agency’s chairman said Tuesday. But it must first weigh the benefits of those changes against a potential rise in fraudulent stock offerings.

Private companies can keep their finances secret if they have fewer than 500 shareholders. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said the agency is trying to see if it makes sense to raise that threshold.

A change would make it easier for Facebook, Twitter and others to raise money without meeting the reporting requirements for public companies.

Schapiro said she’s sympathetic to businesses’ complaint that the current limit restricts their ability to raise capital. But she and her staff said looser requirements could also lead to more cases of phony companies scamming investors.

Goldman Sachs says feds probing a unit’s trading

Goldman Sachs & Co. says one of its units is being investigated by federal regulators over whether it improperly used investment accounts to make trades and could face civil fraud charges.

Goldman says the staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has told the firm it will recommend that the agency file charges.

The charges involve money belonging to customers of another financial firm that was a Goldman client. Goldman says in a filing with regulators that the charges would be based on allegations that it knew or should have known that the money belonged to customers of that firm rather than to the firm itself.

Wendy’s/Arby’s raising prices, cutting earnings

Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc. plans to raise prices, following in the footsteps of competitors like McDonald’s Corp. The company also cut its earnings outlook because of rising costs for beef and other ingredients.

The announcement also came as the company reported a first-quarter loss and said revenue at Wendy’s locations had stagnated.

In a statement, CEO Roland Smith called the run-up in beef prices “unprecedented.” He said the restaurant plans “prudent” price increases, meaning it doesn’t want to raise prices so much that customers opt to eat at home instead.