February 26, 2014 in Business

In brief: Home prices dip for second month in row

From Staff And Wire Reports
 

WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices fell for the second straight month in December as brutally cold weather, tight supply and higher costs slowed sales.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index declined 0.1 percent from November to December, matching the previous month’s decline. The index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the dip partly reflects slower buying as winter weather set in.

For all of 2013, however, prices rose by a healthy 13.4 percent, mostly because of big gains earlier in the year. That was the largest gain in eight years.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average.

Chase to trim 8,000 jobs, add 3,000 new positions

JPMorgan Chase plans to eliminate 8,000 jobs this year as its mortgage business shrinks and the giant bank aims to control costs at its branches.

About half of those job cuts had already been announced. JPMorgan Chase now plans to cut more jobs – about 3 percent of its workforce of 251,000 – as it tries to reduce $2 billion in consumer banking expenses by the end of 2016. But the bank said it would add about 3,000 jobs in other areas this year.

The new job cuts announced Tuesday are in its mortgage and retail banking businesses. The bank also cut 16,500 jobs last year in those areas.

JPMorgan’s mortgage business, like that of other big banks, is declining as fewer Americans refinance their home loans.

Macy’s profits rise, but sales fall short

NEW YORK – Macy’s Inc.’s fourth-quarter profit rose 11 percent, but the department store chain suffered a sales shortfall because a string of storms chilled business in January.

The results, released Tuesday, come on the heels of a solid but fiercely competitive holiday shopping season for the Cincinnati-based company, which also operates Bloomingdale’s stores. The chain has been a standout among its peers throughout the economic recovery as it has benefited from its moves to tailor merchandise to local markets.

But like other retailers, severe winter storms have caused Macy’s to close stores and kept shoppers at home.

The company stuck with its annual profit and sales forecast on hopes that business will bounce back in the spring. Its stock rose 5 percent in late morning trading.

The department store chain said it earned $811 million, or $2.16 per share, in the three months that ended Feb. 1. That compares with $730 million, or $1.83 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items related to closing some stores and other cost-reduction strategies, the company earned $2.31 per share in the latest quarter.

Revenue slipped 1.6 percent to $9.2 billion.

Analysts were expecting $2.17 per share on revenue of $9.28 billion, according to FactSet.

Sustainable development expert to speak in CdA

The Urban Land Institute of Idaho will present a program on the connection between health and the built environment Thursday morning at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene.

The keynote speaker is Ed McMahon, the ULI senior fellow for sustainable development. A local panel will include representatives of the city of Post Falls, Kootenai Health, Panhandle Health District, Greenstone Homes and the Taunton Group.

The cost ranges from $20 to $30 for institute members and $30 to $40 for nonmembers. It includes continental breakfast and a copy of “Ten Principles for Building Healthy Places.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m., followed by the program from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Contact: idaho.uli.org or (208) 433-9352.

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