FirstEnergy declares dividend
The board of directors of FirstEnergy Corp. on Tuesday declared an unchanged quarterly dividend of 36 cents per share of outstanding common stock. The dividend will be payable Sept. 1 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Aug. 7.
Businesses restock inventory
U.S. companies restocked their store shelves and warehouses at a steady pace in May, a sign they expect sales will remain solid in the months ahead.
Business stockpiles rose 0.5 percent in May, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down slightly from a 0.6 percent gain in the previous month. April’s increase was the highest in six months. Total business sales rose 0.4 percent, much lower than April’s 0.8 percent gain.
Steady inventory rebuilding can bolster economic growth by increasing demand for manufactured goods and boosting factory production.
Cuts expected at Microsoft
Microsoft Corp. is planning its biggest round of job cuts in five years, as the software maker looks to slim down and integrate Nokia Oyj’s handset unit, people with knowledge of the company said.
The reductions — which might be unveiled as soon as this week — probably will be in areas such as Nokia and divisions of Microsoft that overlap with that business, as well as marketing and engineering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The restructuring might end up being the biggest in Microsoft history, topping the 5,800 jobs cut in 2009, the sources said.
Rail strike looming in N.Y.
Anxiety is growing among the nearly 300,000 daily riders caught in the middle of a labor dispute involving the nation’s largest commuter railroad.
Long Island Rail Road unions have threatened a strike at 12:01 a.m. Sunday unless they get a new contract.
No talks are scheduled Tuesday between the unions and the line’s operator, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli estimated that a strike would be a “devastating blow to a region that is still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy and the recession” and estimated economic losses of $50 million a day.
Domestic gas output surging
Record natural gas production from the Marcellus shale deposit in the Northeast U.S. is helping send domestic output to an all-time high, as hydraulic fracturing unlocks huge underground supplies.
Gross output from the region will average 15.235 billion cubic feet a day this month, up 28 percent from a year earlier, and 15.482 billion in August, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday in a monthly report. Marcellus gas accounts for about 16 percent of gross U.S. production, up from 2 percent in 2008.
Marcellus supplies are contributing to record U.S. output, a change from six years ago, when federal regulators were evaluating plans for gas import terminals to make up for a domestic shortfall. Exports from the Gulf Coast now are scheduled to start next year as prices that have dropped 70 percent since July 2008 make the fuel attractive to overseas consumers.
Apple, IBM in partnership
Apple is teaming up with former nemesis IBM in an attempt to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers.
The exclusive partnership announced Tuesday calls for the two technology companies to work together on about 100 different mobile applications designed for a wide range of industries.
The applications, expected to be released this fall, will feature some of the data-crunching tools that IBM Corp. sells to companies trying to get a better grasp on main markets while scouring for new money-making opportunities.
Moratorium on Internet fee
The U.S. House voted Tuesday to make permanent a moratorium that prevents state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet.
Under current law, the moratorium expires Nov. 1, exposing Internet users to the same kind of connection fees that often show up on telephone bills.
Compiled from staff and wire reports.