Fed will let healthy banks raise dividends, official says

The Federal Reserve is preparing to permit healthy banks to boost dividends paid to investors.

Banks would need to show the Fed’s bank examiners that they’re in good financial health and that they have adequate capital to absorb potential losses — even after paying the dividend. The Fed’s new guidelines were described by a government official with knowledge of the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the guidelines haven’t been issued yet, but will be soon.

During the financial crisis, banks cut their dividend payments. increasing their payments, banks may be able to attract new investors.

The Fed oversees Wall Street’s biggest banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo.

American Airlines threatens to pull listings from Orbitz

American Airlines could pull its ticket listings from Orbitz on Dec. 1 in a dispute over how the online travel website gets information about flights and prices.

The news on Thursday caused shares of Orbitz Worldwide Inc. to plunge more than 17 percent.

Barney Harford, the CEO of Orbitz Worldwide Inc., said American was trying to force travel agencies to get information directly from the company instead of through middlemen called global distribution systems, or GDSs. He said American’s strategy would limit consumers’ ability to compare airline prices.

Orbitz is controlled by privately held Travelport Limited, which also owns the Worldspan and Galileo GDSs.

Chinese leader’s visit brings deals totaling $22.8 billion

French companies will sell uranium, Airbus planes and technology worth $22.8 billion to China in deals announced Thursday during the Chinese president’s visit to France.

As Hu Jintao and French President Nicolas Sarkozy watched, business leaders signed deal after deal, including an agreement by Chinese companies to buy 102 aircraft from the plane-making consortium Airbus.

The three-day state visit by Hu started Thursday with a red carpet welcome at the airport, Chinese flags fluttering in the streets of Paris and a state dinner at the Elysee Palace.

It marked a dramatic turnaround from the tense relations of two years ago, when Sarkozy threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics out of anger about China’s treatment of Tibet. Sarkozy’s advisers say he now is choosing convergence over confrontation.

OPEC increases its estimate of world oil demand in 2014�

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised estimates for global oil demand Thursday based on growth in Asia, and forecast that alternative supplies will restrain the world’s need for its crude.

OPEC, responsible for 40 percent of worldwide crude production, expects oil consumption to increase 5.1 percent to 89.9 million barrels a day by 2014, compared with this year. That’s 800,000 barrels a day more than it predicted last year. OPEC cut the demand forecast for its own crude by 900,000 barrels a day on rising use of natural gas liquids and non-conventional fuels such as biofuels.

Microsoft selling its version of motion-sensing game box

Microsoft on Thursday started selling Kinect, a device that lets consumers play video games with their bodies, to help it lure casual gamers and add years to the life of its Xbox 360 gaming console.

Kinect, shaped like a flat box, tracks a player’s movement and voice. It costs $149.99 by itself, or starts at $299.99 when purchased with an Xbox 360 console. On Wednesday, Microsoft boosted its forecast for Kinect sales this year to 5 million units from 3 million after the device sold out in pre-sales at retailers such as Amazon.com and Best Buy.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer is depending on Kinect to catch Nintendo, which pioneered the motion-sensing gaming market with its Wii controller, and Sony Corp., whose Move controller hit stores in September. The product is also designed to help Microsoft goose sales of the aging Xbox 360, released in 2005, and improve margins of a unit that lost about $8 billion before reaching profitability in 2008.

Jump in Starbucks’ revenue fuels doubling of net income

Starbucks says its fourth-quarter net income nearly doubled as revenue spiked, beating analyst estimates, and it raised its targets for fiscal 2011.

The world’s largest cafe chain earned $278.9 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter ended Oct. 3. That compares with $150 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 17.2 percent to $2.84 billion.

DirecTV’s income rises 31%, matching analyst estimates

DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite- television provider, posted third-quarter profit that matched analysts’ estimates, helped by demand for digital-video- recording services and premium shows.

Net income rose 31 percent to $479 million, or 55 cents a share, from $366 million, or 37 cents, a year earlier, the El Segundo, Calif.-based company said in a statement Thursday. Analysts had predicted 55 cents a share, the average of 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales rose 10 percent to $6.03 billion, topping the $5.98 billion predicted by analysts. DirecTV kept and attracted customers to its exclusive programming and premium products, including “NFL Sunday Ticket,” high definition and DVR services.

Average monthly revenue per subscriber rose 4.3 percent to $88.98.

Net income down, revenue up after Kraft buys Cadbury

Kraft Foods Inc.’s third-quarter net income fell more than 8 percent as it spent more to promote its brands but saw a major revenue boost from its acquisition of Cadbury PLC.

The company, based in Northfield, Ill., reported Thursday that it earned $754 million, or 43 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That compares with $824 million, or 55 cents per share, in the prior quarter. The company says results for the most recent quarter include acquisition-related costs and other items of 4 cents per share.