February 27, 2013 in Business

Global music industry singing a happier tune

From Wire Reports
 

LONDON – More than a decade after online file swapping tipped the music industry into turmoil, record executives may finally be getting a sliver of good news.

Industry revenue is up. A measly 0.3 percent, but it’s still up.

Since its 1999 peak, the global music industry’s revenues have crashed more than 40 percent. Tuesday’s figures, which show a rise in global revenue from $16.4 billion in 2011 to $16.5 billion in 2012, are the first hint of growth in more than a decade.

Banks step up lending and see profits soar

WASHINGTON – Profits at U.S. banks jumped almost 37 percent for the October-December period, reaching the highest level for a fourth quarter in six years as banks continued to step up lending.

The figures are fresh evidence of the industry’s sustained recovery more than four years after the financial crisis.

Banks earned $34.7 billion in the last three months of 2012, up from $25.4 billion a year ago and the highest for a fourth quarter since 2006, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported Tuesday. Sixty percent of banks reported improved earnings from the fourth quarter of 2011, the agency said.

The FDIC, created during the Great Depression to ensure bank deposits, monitors and examines the financial condition of U.S. banks.

Home Depot revenues exceed expectations

NEW YORK – Home Depot Inc., the largest U.S. home improvement retailer, said Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income surged 32 percent, beating expectations, helped by strong U.S. sales and the cleanup related to Superstorm Sandy.

The news follows smaller rival Lowe’s Cos.’ results Monday, which also beat expectations, and is the latest sign that Americans are feeling more comfortable spending money on their homes as the housing market slowly recovers.

Home Depot said its results were solid across the country. New York and New Jersey were the strongest regions as people repaired homes after Superstorm Sandy.

JPMorgan cuts offer glimmer of good news

NEW YORK – JPMorgan will trim about 19,000 jobs over the next two years but cast a positive spin on the news: It is shrinking the unit it had beefed up to handle troubled mortgages.

The bulk of the cuts, about 15,000, will come at the mortgage unit, which had swelled to about 50,000 workers from a pre-financial crisis roster of 20,000 because the bank needed more people to process defaulted mortgages. The rest of the cuts, about 4,000, will come from the consumer banking business, mostly the branches. JPMorgan said those cuts will come through attrition, not layoffs.

The bank noted that it’s also adding jobs in certain areas. Overall, it expects its payroll to be down by about 17,000 at the end of 2014, a 6.5 percent reduction.

Best Buy eliminating jobs at headquarters

NEW YORK – Electronics chain Best Buy Co. says it is cutting 400 jobs at its headquarters as part of a larger $725 million cost-cutting plan.

The cuts are part of a move to save $150 million in selling, general and administrative costs. Best Buy says they’re the first phase of the larger cost-cutting plan that new CEO Hubert Joly announced in November.

Best Buy has been trying to turn around results as it faces increased competition from online and discount retailers.


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