Citigroup lowers 2013 profit after Mexico banking fraud

Citigroup said fraud at its Mexican banking unit will slice $235 million from last year’s net income. The bank said Friday that Mexican oil services company Oceanografia SA de CV apparently submitted falsified invoices to get loans. The invoices were supposed to back $585 million in loans, but Citi could only verify the backing for $185 million.

Citi’s large Mexican bank, Banco Nacional de Mexico, had been lending money to Oceanografia to cover work that it was doing for Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.

Realtors: January numbers on pending home sales flat

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes was essentially flat in January, a possible sign of a softening real estate market. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index inched up 0.1 last month to 95. The index has fallen 9 percent over the past 12 months as sales momentum has faded.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases: A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Apple CEO gives shareholders reassurances … but no details

Apple CEO Tim Cook is still trying to convince shareholders that the iPhone maker remains a step ahead in the race to innovate, even though recent performance of the company’s stock lags behind other technology trendsetters.

In making his case Friday, Cook promised that Apple Inc. is working on new gadgets that will expand the company’s product line-up beyond smartphones, tablets, music players and personal computers without divulging any details. He cited the company’s nearly $4.5 billion investment in research and development during the last fiscal year and the completion of 23 acquisitions in the past 16 months as a precursor of the big things to come.

Mattel Inc. to buy Canadian toy maker Mega Brands

Mattel Inc. has made a friendly takeover offer for Canadian toy maker Mega Brands Inc., which has the world’s No. 2 line of construction sets after Lego.

The deal values the Montreal-based company at $460 million, including debt that the American industry giant will assume or repay.

Mattel manufactures Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars among numerous other toys. The company says Mega Brands will help it expand in two of the fastest-growing product segments: construction sets and arts and crafts.

Mattel plans to keep the Mega Brands head office in Montreal and to invest in its manufacturing operations, which he said are integral to the business.

– From news service reports