BlackBerry maker posts loss; shares plunge 30 percent

Shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion plunged nearly 30 percent Friday after the Toronto-based company posted a loss and warned of future losses despite releasing its make-or-break new smartphones this year. RIM also announced that it will stop developing new versions of its slow-selling tablet computer called the Playbook.

Analysts were looking for insight into how phones running RIM’s new Blackberry 10 operating system are selling. It wasn’t good.

RIM said it sold 6.8 million phones overall versus 7.8 million last year. That includes older models. In wasn’t until well into a conference call with analysts that RIM announced that 2.7 million of the devices sold in the quarter were Blackberry 10 models.

News Corp. formally splits in two after market’s close

News Corp. formally split in two after the market closed Friday, with existing shareholders getting one share in the new publishing entity for every four shares they hold in the media company.

Since Wednesday last week, preliminary shares of both sides of the company have been trading as if the split already occurred. Any buyers of preliminary shares will receive them next Friday. Preliminary publishing shares closed Friday at $15.25.

The recent trading valued the publishing division, to be named News Corp., at around $8.8 billion. That’s about 12 percent of the entire company’s value. It had a market capitalization of about $75.5 billion before the split.

The movie and TV division is being renamed Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. Its preliminary stock closed at $28.99 on Friday.

Ford recalls three models over failed child safety locks

Ford is recalling just over 13,000 Explorer, Taurus and Lincoln MKS cars and SUVs because the child safety locks may not work on the rear doors.

The recall affects 2013 model cars sold mainly in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Ford says the safety locks can be turned off when the doors are opened or closed. That could allow a door to be opened with the inside door handle and possibly hurt a child. The company says no injuries have been reported from the problem.

Consumer confidence status stays close to six-year high

Consumer sentiment held close to a six-year high in June as higher home values gave Americans more reason to be optimistic about the economy.

Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan said Friday its final confidence index for this month eased to 84.1, higher than the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey, from 84.5 at the end of May. The group’s measure of the economic outlook climbed to an eight-month high. Other data from the MNI Chicago Report showed manufacturing is struggling to gain traction.

An improving housing market is sustaining sentiment and making up for the hit to household wealth from a recent setback in stock prices. Further strides in employment and housing will help provide more fuel for an economy beset this quarter by federal budget cuts.

“Consumers are more attuned to the labor market gradually getting better and the rise in house prices” rather than declining stock prices or increasing mortgage rates, said Guy Berger, an economist at RBS Securities Inc., who projected a sentiment reading of 84. “Growth in the second half is going to be a little better than it is in the first half.”

— From news service reports