Even with recalls, GM’s 2014 profit hits $2.8 billion

If it weren’t for the recalls, 2014 would have been a stellar year for General Motors.

Even with $2.8 billion in pretax costs to fix more than 42 million recalled vehicles worldwide and $400 million set aside for death and injury claims, GM still managed to turn a $2.8 billion profit. It plans to raise the quarterly dividend.

Except for the recalls, most of the stars lined up last year for the Detroit automaker. Gas prices dropped more than a buck to $2.26 per gallon. The U.S. economy gained steam. Cheap credit was abundant.

Combined, they sent buyers to GM’s newly redesigned and lucrative pickup trucks and large SUVs in North America, the company’s most profitable market.

Hack cost Sony $25 million, but no long-term harm seen

Sony Corp. trimmed its forecast of losses and estimates the Sony Pictures hack cost it about $15 million, but expects no significant harm from the cyberattack in the long run.

Sony also issued new earnings forecasts for the fiscal year ending in March and said it was benefiting from strong sales of the PlayStation 4, other devices and network services.

The hack became public in December when the Hollywood studio’s computers were crippled and sensitive documents were posted online.

Payroll processor says firms added 213,000 jobs

U.S. companies hired at a solid pace last month, a private survey found, the latest sign of steady improvement in the job market.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies added 213,000 jobs last month, a decent increase though also the smallest in four months. The figure suggests Friday’s government report will also show a solid burst of hiring

Growth rate of services firms shows an expansion

U.S. services firms grew at a slightly faster pace in January, led by hotels, restaurants and financial firms.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its services index rose to 56.7 in January, up a small amount from a revised reading of 56.5 in December.

Both months were below a revised November reading of 58.8, which was the best showing since last May. The November level was revised substantially lower from a previous estimate of 59.3, which had been near an eight-year high.

Any reading over 50 indicates expansion.

— From news service reports