Home Depot results signal remodeling work lagging

Americans are primping their lawns and maintaining their homes but holding back on large-scale remodeling, Home Depot’s third-quarter net income results showed Tuesday.

The largest U.S. home-improvement retailer said keeping a tight lid on expenses helped its third-quarter net income rise 21 percent, despite a lackluster 1 percent revenue increase.

The results mirror Monday’s report from smaller rival Lowe’s Cos., which said its net income rose 19 percent with a revenue increase of only 2 percent. Together, the reports show many homeowners remain unwilling or unable to undertake bigger projects until the economy shows more growth.

 

TD Ameritrade offers to pay customers hit by data theft

Online brokerage TD Ameritrade plans to offer up to $2,500 to each of the more than 6 million current and former customers affected by the theft of their contact information in 2007.

The proposed settlement, which was outlined in court documents filed Monday, would cost Ameritrade between $2.5 million and $6.5 million. Last year, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker rejected an earlier class-action settlement because it didn’t do enough to benefit the Ameritrade customers affected. A hearing on the new settlement is set for Dec. 23.

The company disclosed the breach in September 2007. Anyone who held an Ameritrade account or provided an e-mail address before then could have been affected by the data theft.

 

UPS expecting 430 million deliveries between holidays

UPS says it will hire about 50,000 temporary workers to handle the crush of holiday shipments this year.

United Parcel Service said Tuesday that it expects to deliver 430 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The busiest should be Wednesday, Dec. 22, when UPS expects to deliver 24 million packages worldwide, up 60 percent from a normal day.

Rival FedEx says it expects to move nearly 16 million packages on its peak day, Dec. 13.

Economists watch the predictions from UPS and FedEx for hints about the economy’s direction.

 

IRS ends legal action, gets list of tax evasion suspects

The Internal Revenue Service ended the legal action Tuesday that forced Swiss bank UBS AG to disclose thousands of account holders suspected of cheating on U.S. taxes, a landmark case that the IRS commissioner called only the beginning of a global offshore tax evasion probe.

The IRS withdrew its Miami federal court summons seeking identities of suspected U.S. tax dodgers at UBS after receiving 4,450 names as required under an August 2009 agreement that also included the Swiss government. Each of those people expect what the commissioner called a “full-blown audit,” and many are likely to be charged criminally. More identities will be turned over in the months ahead.

 

Google’s Voice application approved for the iPhone

Google Inc.’s Voice calling application has won approval to be on the iPhone after more than a year of haggling with Apple Inc.

The breakthrough announced Tuesday resolves a stand-off that triggered a Federal Communications Commission inquiry into whether Apple and AT&T Inc., the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. service provider, were trying to stifle competition by keeping the app off the popular device.

Google Voice lets people sign up for a new phone number, then route incoming calls out to cell, office or home phones. It also lets users place calls, offering steep discounts on international traffic, and includes voice mail. The free app already has been available for Blackberry phones and devices running on Google’s Android operating system.