Business

In brief: Banks took back fewer U.S. homes in January

LOS ANGELES – Lenders repossessed fewer U.S. homes in January, bringing the number of completed foreclosures down to the lowest level in more than six years.

Even so, many states posted sharp increases in the number of homes entering the foreclosure process for the first time, a trend that raises the likelihood that those states will see a surge in foreclosed homes later this year.

Banks took back 30,226 homes last month, a drop of 4 percent from December, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

Completed foreclosures were down 40 percent from January last year to the lowest level since July 2007, the firm said.

A dozen states posted annual increases in foreclosures, including New York, Oklahoma, Connecticut and New Jersey.

While foreclosures remain elevated in many populous states, they have been steadily on the wane since the U.S. housing market and economy began to rebound after years of decline.

All told, banks initiated foreclosure actions against 57,259 U.S. homes last month, a 10 percent jump from December, RealtyTrac said.

SAN FRANCISCO – About 3,000 Verizon Wireless workers will have to transfer to different offices or find new jobs as part of a shake-up that will close five of the company’s customer call centers.

The changes announced Wednesday affect Verizon offices in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Verizon is closing customer service centers in some of those states and changing the types of jobs located in other states, company spokesman Paul Macchia said.

The upheaval imperils the current jobs of about 4 percent of the 73,000 people who work for Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless carrier. Workers who don’t want to move or can’t find different jobs within Verizon will receive severance packages, Macchia said.

Amazon announces 2,500 job openings

SEATTLE – Amazon said it is hiring more than 2,500 full-time workers at its order fulfillment centers around the U.S.

Amazon.com Inc. announced Wednesday that the jobs are available in Dupont, Wash.; Chester, Va., and Petersburg, Va.; Coffeyville, Kan.; Columbia, S.C.; and Murfreesboro, Tenn.

CBS Corp.’s 4th quarter outpaces expectations

NEW YORK – CBS Corp. on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue growth that beat Wall Street expectations, posting flat advertising revenue but growth in content licensing thanks to the sale of shows such as “Hawaii Five-O” for domestic reruns.

Along with the earnings announcement, the company said it would quadruple the pace of its share buybacks in the current quarter as it spends cash raised from the pending spinoff of its outdoor billboard business.

CEO Les Moonves also told analysts on a conference call that the company was setting its sights on generating $2 billion a year in 2020 from so-called “retransmission fees” that it gets from cable and satellite distributors for the right to carry CBS content.

Those fees were at the heart of a dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable Inc. last fall that resulted in a monthlong blackout. The goal is up from the $1 billion a year the company is eyeing for 2017.

Revenue grew 6 percent to $3.91 billion from $3.7 billion a year earlier, and topped the $3.82 billion analysts expected.



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