Markets end down despite strong company earnings

NEW YORK — A slew of U.S. companies announced big profits Thursday, but investors spooked about the economy sold stocks anyway.

Investors shifted between buying and selling early, then stuck with selling after deciding that the strong earnings results weren’t enough to make up for weak reports on jobs, housing and manufacturing.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 68.65 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 12,964.10. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 8.22 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,376.92. In other trading, the Nasdaq composite fell 23.89 points, or 0.8 percent, to 3,007.56.

Pair of Maine companies merge into BGA Financial

Financial services companies The Buckley Group, of Portland, and Anthoine Financial Group, of Auburn, announced they have merged into a new company called BGA Financial. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Both companies specialize in employee benefits, retirement plans, insurance planning and investment strategies. BGA will maintain offices in Portland and Auburn with a combined staff of 18. The combined company will be able to offer more depth of services to clients.

“This merger is aimed at maintaining the successful service models our two companies have employed over the years, while providing greater resources and complimentary professional expertise to our combined clientele,” said Mark Anthoine, the sole principal of Anthoine Financial.

KeyCorp’s net income rises along with its loan activity

Ohio-based lender KeyCorp, which has 61 banking branches in Maine, said first-quarter net income rose amid an increase in loans.

The Cleveland-based company said net income from continuing operations attributable to common shareholders totaled $199 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with $184 million, or 21 cents a share, a year ago.

KeyCorp said it benefited from improved asset quality and growth in its commercial, financial and agricultural loans. KeyCorp originated $8.3 billion in new or renewed consumer or business loans in the quarter, which compared with $6.9 billion in the same period a year ago.

KeyCorp employs 500 workers in 15 counties in Maine.

Judge hears Honda’s appeal of award in mileage case

TORRANCE, Calif. — Lawyers for American Honda Motor Co. are trying to overturn a highly publicized small-claims court award to a woman who sued over the poor fuel mileage of her hybrid Honda Civic.

The appeal was being heard Thursday by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who will decide whether to reverse a court commissioner’s award of $9,867 to Heather Peters. She opted out of a class-action settlement designed to give some 200,000 owners between $100 and $200 each, plus a rebate if they buy a new Honda.

A Honda service manager has testified that she achieved up to 55 mpg in a 115-mile test drive on freeways and streets. But Peters called a former Honda analyst who says he tested hybrids after customer complaints and was never able to duplicate the promised 50 mpg.

– From staff and news services