WASHINGTON – The prices that U.S. companies receive for their goods and services rose in April by the most in 19 months, a sign that inflation may be picking up from very low levels.
The producer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent from March to April, the Labor Department said Wednesday, after a 0.5 percent increase from February to March. April’s increases were led by higher food prices and greater retailer and wholesaler profit margins.
Over the past 12 months, producer prices have risen 2.1 percent, the biggest 12-month gain in more than two years. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, noted that the profit margins dropped sharply over the winter before increasing in the past two months, “so we can’t yet say an upward trend is emerging.”
Deere reports decline in 2nd quarter net income
MOLINE, Ill. – Deere reported a 9.5 percent decline in second-quarter net income Wednesday on lower demand for farming equipment and cut its sales forecast for the year.
The company beat Wall Street’s quarterly expectations on both profit and revenue, but the sales outlook weighed on the company’s stock price.
With farmer income projected to decline, Deere said sales of its agriculture and turf equipment could fall 7 percent for the full year. It had projected a 6 percent decrease in February.
Net income in the most recent quarter fell to $980.7 million, or $2.65 per share, compared with $1.08 billion, or $2.76 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
That was much better than the per-share forecast of $2.47 on Wall Street, according to a poll of analysts by FactSet.
Revenue fell 8.9 percent to $9.95 billion, from $10.91 billion, but that also edged out analyst expectations for $9.63 billion.
Cabela’s recalls 600 electronic jerky blasters
WASHINGTON – Cabela’s is recalling approximately 600 electronic jerky blasters because of a possible fire hazard.
The outdoor sporting goods company said Wednesday that the battery charger adapter can overcharge, causing the electronic jerky blaster’s battery and battery charger adapter to overheat.
The hand-held, battery powered appliance resembles a caulking gun, Cabela’s said, and is used for making jerky sticks or strips.
The product has a black handle, a gold-toned 15” tube that holds the meat and an interchangeable tip at the end. The tube is marked with “Cabela’s Power Jerky” written on it. The device was sold as a set with interchangeable tips and cleaning brushes.
Consumers should stop using the product and contact Cabela’s Inc. for a full refund.
NEW YORK – Southwest Airlines is raising its quarterly dividend to 6 cents from 4 cents and plans to buy back $1 billion in company stock.
The Dallas company said the moves reflect its strong financial performance and cash outlook. It will buy back $200 million in stock through an accelerated repurchase program.
Southwest said its next dividend will be paid June 25 to shareholders of record on June 4.
Yahoo to purchase Snapchat rival app Blink
NEW YORK – Yahoo is buying the mobile messaging app Blink.
Terms of the deal, which was announced Wednesday on Blink’s website, are not being disclosed.
Messages sent through the Blink app self-destruct after a certain amount of time. The app allows users to send texts, sketches, record audio, make videos and take photos. Its main rival is Snapchat, which Facebook reportedly tried to buy for $3 billion.
Blink said it will shut down both the iOS and Android versions of the app in the coming weeks before the switchover.