July 26, 2013

Briefcase

Amazon's heavy spending blamed for quarter loss

Amazon.com is reporting a loss in the second quarter as higher revenue was not enough to make up for rising operating expenses. The world's largest online retailer has been spending heavily on order fulfillment and digital content rights, which continue to weigh on profit margins.

Amazon.com Inc., which also makes Kindle tablets and e-reader devices, said Thursday that its loss was $7 million, or 2 cents per share, in the April-June quarter. That's down from earnings of $7 million, or 1 cent per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 22 percent to $15.7 billion.

While jobless benefits rose, trend still points to recovery

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000.

The increase in the week ending July 20 follows a drop of 22,000 the previous week. But the broader trend is consistent with an improving job market.

The four-week average, which smooths out weekly fluctuations, fell 1,250 to 345,250, according to the Labor Department.

Aircraft demand, spending boost durable goods orders

Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods rose in June, bolstered by a surge in aircraft demand and more business spending. The increase suggests companies have more confidence in the economy and could boost growth in the second half of the year.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods increased 4.2 percent last month. That followed a 5.2 percent gain in May, which was revised higher.

Most of the gain occurred because aircraft orders, which are volatile month-to-month, jumped 31.4 percent. Boeing said it received orders for 287 planes in June, up from 232 in May. Excluding autos and airplanes, orders were unchanged.

Mortgage rates fell for second straight week

Average rates on U.S. fixed mortgages fell for the second straight week, a welcome sign for homebuyers hoping to lock in lower rates that spiked earlier this month.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average on the 30-year loan fell to 4.31 percent. That's down from 4.37 percent last week but nearly a full percentage point higher than in early May. The rate reached a two-year high of 4.51 percent two weeks ago.

The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.39 percent, down from 3.41 percent last week.

Starbucks sees profit rise 25 percent for quarter

Starbucks says its profit climbed 25 percent in the latest quarter as caffeine-craving customers boosted sales and coffee costs eased.

The results topped Wall Street's expectations, and the company raised its full-year guidance. Starbucks' shares were up more than 6 percent in aftermarket trading.

The Seattle-based chain, which has more than 19,000 locations around the world, said global sales rose 8 percent at stores open at least 13 months, with all regions registering growth. In its flagship U.S. market, sales rose 9 percent.

– From news service reports

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