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Business briefs: U.S. new home sales down in December

Tue., Jan. 28, 2014, midnight

WASHINGTON – U.S. sales of new homes fell in December for a second consecutive month but even with the pause at the end of the year, sales for all of 2013 climbed to the highest level in five years.

Sales of new homes dropped 7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, the Commerce Department reported Monday. For the whole year, sales were up 16.4 percent to 428,000, the highest level since 2008.

It marked the second year that sales have risen after six consecutive annual declines.

Apple share price falls despite record sales

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple’s holiday season proved to be a disappointment even though the company sold a record number of iPhones and iPads during its latest quarter.

The fiscal first-quarter earnings released Monday topped analyst projections, but Apple sold fewer iPhones than Wall Street had been anticipating. Management also forecast revenue for the current quarter that fell below analysts’ predictions. Those letdowns caused Apple’s stock to shed $41.62, or more than 7.5 percent, to $508.88 in extended trading after the release of results.

The Cupertino, Calif., company sold 51 million iPhones during the three months ending Dec. 28. Analysts had predicted about 55 million iPhones in what is traditionally the company’s best quarter.

Videos bring shutdown of veal, lamb processor

One of the country’s largest veal and lamb companies was temporarily barred from processing meat after federal officials viewed secretly shot video showing animals being treated inhumanely at its New Jersey slaughterhouse.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday suspended slaughtering operations at Catelli Brothers Inc. in Shrewsbury, N.J. The company promised cooperation with investigators, and said it has already hired an expert on animal care and handling in meat plants to help it prevent future problems.

In one video clip, a cow had its neck slit and was bleeding profusely but was still conscious after being shot several times with a stun gun. In another, a calf that was unable to walk was being dragged.

Both instances violate federal rules which require that animals slaughtered for human consumption be treated humanely leading up to and during slaughter.

P&G developing body-shaving razor

Looks like beards are in, but body hair is out.

Procter & Gamble says the trend toward facial hair like stubble and beards is partly to blame for hurting its razor sales. But the world’s largest consumer products company said shaving from the neck down is becoming more popular among men.

So P&G is introducing a new razor called Gillette Body Razor that’s designed specifically for body shaving. The razor, which will be in stores in mid-February, will be the center of an ad campaign that will have the tagline: “The first razor built for the male terrain.”


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