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Business news briefs — Jan. 23


McDonald’s sales decline

McDonald’s Corp. reported that in the United States., where it recently revamped its Dollar Menu to include items that cost a little more, quarterly sales fell 1.4 percent.

McDonald’s said it earned $1.4 billion, or $1.40 per share, which is a penny more than Wall Street expected. A year ago, it earned $1.39 billion, or $1.38 per share.

Lockheed’s profits plunge

Lockheed Martin Corp., the U.S. government’s biggest contractor, said its fourth-quarter profit plunged 14 percent as federal budget cuts sapped sales and led to a goodwill writedown and job-reduction charge. The company is closing a facility in Akron.

Lockheed’s net income from continuing operations fell to $488 million, or $1.50 a share, in the quarter, down from $569 million, or $1.73 a share, a year earlier. Sales declined 4.7 percent to $11.5 billion in the quarter.

Lower income at Fifth Third

Fifth Third Bancorp reported fourth-quarter net income fell 2 percent on lower income from fees and investments and expenses to set aside money for a litigation reserve. The Cincinnati company with Northeast Ohio operations said net income fell to $383 million, or 43 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That is down slightly from earnings of $390 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Southwest Airlines profits up

Southwest Airlines Co. made more money in the fourth quarter thanks to a lower fuel bill and higher average fares. The company said net income totaled $212 million, up from $78 million. Excluding special items, Southwest said it earned 33 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 29 cents. Revenue rose 6.1 percent to $4.43 billion.

United parent firm profits

The parent of United Airlines said it earned $140 million in the fourth quarter, as more passengers flew and paid more for their tickets. The airline’s fuel bill also shrank. Net income at United Continental Holdings Inc. was $140 million, or 37 cents per share. A year earlier it lost $620 million, or $1.87 per share. Not counting special charges, United would have earned 78 cents per share — well above the 66 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Revenue rose more than 7 percent to $9.33 billion, also higher than analysts had expected.


U.S. leading indicators rise

The Conference Board said its index of leading indicators rose 0.1 percent last month. That’s down from a 1 percent gain in November, the month after a partial 16-day shutdown of the federal government. The index is designed to signal economic conditions over the next three to six months.

Little change in mortgage rates

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages changed little this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average for the 30-year loan declined to 4.39 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan eased to 3.44 percent from 3.45 percent.

Dow Jones drops 176 points

Stocks fell broadly Thursday after a weak manufacturing report from China added to growing signs that the world’s second-largest economy is slowing. The selling spared few companies, even those reporting solid earnings. In the Standard and Poor’s 500 index, nine of 10 companies dropped.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 175.99 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,197.35. The S&P 500 fell 16.40 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,828.46. The Nasdaq composite fell 24.13 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,218.87.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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