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Jan. 23, 2013 at 7:33 PM   |   Comments

U.S. markets move higher

NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes rose in New York Wednesday with two major boards starting the day at five-year highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at five-year peaks Tuesday and moved even higher Wednesday.

By close of trading Wednesday, the DJIA added 67.12 points or 0.49 percent to 13,779.33. The Nasdaq composite index gained 10.49 points or 0.33 percent to 3,153.67. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 2.25 points or 0.15 percent to 1,494.81.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,457 stocks advanced and 1,569 declined on a volume of 3.5 billion shares traded.

The 10-year treasury note rose 5/32 to yield 1.829 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro was $1.3316 from Tuesday's $1.3322. The dollar dropped against the yen, hitting 88.6 yen from 88.71 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 2.08 percent, 222.94 points, to 10,486.99.

In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.3 percent, 18.47 points, to 6,197.64.


Airlines notched a strong year in 2012

NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Two U.S. airlines considering a merger, US Airways and American Airlines, had relatively strong years in 2012, company filings show.

US Airways reported record profits for the year $537 million earned, a jump from $111 million in profits posted in 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

American Airlines, meanwhile, is expected to be the only major U.S. airline to report a loss for the year.

As it works to get out of bankruptcy, however, AA's parent company AMR reported a loss of $130 million on its operations in 2012, which is $932 million better than it did in 2011.

Those figures do not include charges for restructuring. On its balance sheet for operations, "We have made enormous progress toward building the new American," said Tom Horton, chairman and chief executive officer of AMR.

Industry analysts say that 2012 will be the third consecutive year for profits across most of the industry -- a year in which fare prices rose 4 percent and the industry continued to reap huge benefits from new fees for passenger amenities.

For US Airways, revenue per available seat mile rose 3.9 percent with an 82.9 percent of its seats filled over the course of the year, an improvement from 82.3 percent of seating filled in 2011.


Aston Martin beefs up the Rapide S

WARWICKSHIRE, England, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- British car maker Aston Martin said it has put a little more juice in its Rapide S model sports car -- a little more pep, a little more get up and go.

In one of the upgrades that coincide with the car company's 100th birthday, Aston Martin has unleashed a Rapide S with its 6.0-liter V-12 engine now rated at 550 horsepower, up from the previous model's 470 hp.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday the car's new muscle jumps its acceleration capacity. The car can zip from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, slightly better than the previous model's 5.1 seconds.

The newspaper says the car's erstwhile rival, the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, has exactly the same horsepower, but can make the jump from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. General Motors' Corvette, with a 6.2-liter, 450 hp V-8, can cover the distance in less than 4 seconds, as well.

For the extra muscle, sports car buyers can take a Rapide S home for $200,000, which is $10,000 less than the outgoing model.

Other changes include the front grill, which is now a one-piece structure that conforms to European safety regulations, unlike its predecessor.


Shareholder files suit against bank execs

NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Former executives of the Bank of the Commonwealth hid bank losses from the public before it failed, say papers filed in a U.S. District Court.

The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that Robert Bogatitus, who bought 2,000 shares in the months before the bank collapsed, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of all shareholders that alleges bank executives defrauded shareholders by hiding losses.

Their actions caused the bank to fail, leaving the stock worthless, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit names former bank President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Woodard, who left the bank in 2010, and former President Chris Beisel, Woodard's successor.

It also names three former vice presidents and former mortgage officer Brandon Woodard, Ed Woodard's son.

Six former board members of parent company Commonwealth Bankshares are also named the lawsuit.

Both Woodards and former bank Vice Presidents Stephen Fields and Simon Hounslow have also been indicted for bank fraud and conspiracy charges. Concurrently, Ed Woodard, Fields and former Vice President Cynthia Sabol have been named in a civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the newspaper said.

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