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Apple Joins Top 10 of Fortune 500 Apple Joins Top 10 of Fortune 500

May 06, 2013 - Apple climbed to No. 6 overall in the Fortune 500 with revenue reaching $156 billion. The tech giant climbed 11 spots to reach No. 6 and is the leader in tech firms.

This is the highest ranking ever for the Cupertino, California based company and it replaced the troubled Hewlett-Packard as the top tech firm on the list.

Fortune ranks companies by their amount of revenue annually, with the new list released on Monday. The cutoff for the revenue was at approximately $4.8 billion.

That mark was easily beaten by Apple with its revenue coming in at $156.4 billion for its fiscal year end September 30, 2012. Apple trailed just Walmart, Exxon-Mobile, Chevron, Phillips and Berkshire Hathaway on the list.

The tech giant, whose share price has plummeted since the beginning of last September, jumped from No.17, with a gain in revenue of more than 47%. Apple flew by HP, which dropped from its No. 10 spot to No. 15 with a revenue drop of more than 5%.

Other tech companies close to the top of the list included; IBM which is at No. 20; followed by Microsoft which finished at No. 35; Amazon then comes in at No. 49; with Dell Computers at No. 51; then Intel at No. 54; Google at No. 55; Cisco finishing at No. 60; and last but not least Oracle finishing at No. 80.

Microsoft was up two spots, while IBM dropped a single position. Amazon jumped seven positions and Dell, due to slumping sales of PCs dropped seven spots.

When using profit to rank the list, Apple finished No. 2 with $41.7 billion putting it behind just Exxon Mobil that posted a $44.8 billion profit. The profit by Exxon Mobile was the second highest ever in the U.S. and trailed only its own record for 2008.

Unemployment Claims Drop To January 2008 Levels Unemployment Claims Drop To January 2008 Levels

May 04, 2013 - The amount of Americans who filed new unemployment claims last week fell sharply to the lowest level its has been since January of 2008. The new data suggests that the job market could still be getting better despite the sluggish broader economy.

First time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 18,000 to 324,000 said the Labor Department on Thursday. The new level of claims reached its lowest point since January of 2008, which was just a month after the economy started in a deep recession.

An analyst from the Labor Department said nothing unusual appeared in the new data and that there had been no estimates made by states in their claims.

The latest data is counter to growing evidence that shows the economy softening during March and April, a new phenomena that economists have named the spring swoon since it has taken place in each of the past two years.

The data does not have a direct bearing on the monthly employments report the Labor Department released today for April. However, it does suggest that even though employers have not been hiring, there has been less pressure to lay off those workers who are already hired.

The four-week average for the new claims, a measure that is less volatile, dropped by only 16,000 to 342,250. Economists expect that today’s April jobs report will have 145,000 new hires. In March, only 88,000 new hires were added after a February increase of 268,000.

The economy’s recent slowdown has been blamed in part on the automatic budget cuts that started on March 1, although economists also said a mild winter that was followed by a very cold March might have led some businesses and consumers to advance their hiring and purchases.

Comcast Sees Profits Rise Thanks to Rate Increase Comcast Sees Profits Rise Thanks to Rate Increase

May 02, 2013 - The largest cable company in the U.S. and the majority owner of the popular network NBC, Comcast Corp. said its profit in the first quarter increased by 17%. The company said video subscriber revenue in its U.S. residential sector, increased at a higher rate than any quarter in four years.

Net income for Comcast was $1.44 billion or 54 cents per share. In the same quarter one year ago, net income was $1.22 billion or 45 cents per share. Excluding one gain due to a sale of an asset, earnings at Comcast were 51 cents per share, which was in line with what analysts had estimated.

Video revenue at Comcast was up by 3.7% to end the quarter at $5.1 billion, boosted by an increase in rates on the majority of its subscribers. Higher fees helped to mitigate losing over 60,000 subscribers of cable-TV during the quarter. Comcast, based in Philadelphia, added more than 433,000 Internet and 211,000 phone customers, which was higher than had been predicted by analysts.

Analysts had only projected the cable company would lose 25,000 subscribers and add 144,000 new phone customers. Even though some customers who were video only cancelled their service following the new rate increase, others just switched to the company’s plan of TV, telephone and Internet known as Triple Play. Over 40% of the company’s customers now have all three of the products.

Nevertheless, the loss of 60,000 customers widened from last year’s loss in the same quarter of 37,000, which was a reverse of what the company had been doing over the last nine quarters.

Sales for the first quarter were $15.3 billion, an increase of 2.9%, missing the estimate of analysts that was $15.4 billion.

U.S. Economy Grows but at less than Stellar Pace U.S. Economy Grows but at less than Stellar Pace

April 28, 2013 - The sluggish recovery in the U.S. keeps catching a break, but not a good one. The continual spending cuts by the federal government and the slowdown in investments by businesses thwarted any hope for a stronger growth in the economy during the first three months of 2013.

During the first quarter of this year, the economy in the U.S. grew by an annualized rate of 2.5%, said a report from the Commerce Department on Friday.

The improvement was substantial from the 0.4% increase during the fourth quarter of 2012, when smaller stockpiling by businesses and deep cuts in the defense budget slashed any growth. Even though the growth was higher than the previous quarter, it was still below the average set by market analysts at 3%.

As was expected, farms as well as other businesses filled their inventories to start the year, which accounted for a large part of the acceleration of the nation’s GDP, or the total value of goods and services, which were produced in the U.S.

More than two-thirds of the U.S. economy is made up of consumer spending, which was robust during the quarter. Even though taxes cut into workers paychecks, people continued to buy more vehicles and other long term products.

Spending for services, which includes utilities, healthcare and insurance all increased during the quarter at its fastest pace in 8 years. The private economy remains tough, but the public sector has proven to be a bigger drag on the economy than was previously feared.

Following a drop in the fourth quarter of an annualized rate of more than 7%, government investment and spending fell by 4.1% during the first quarter of 2013. Expenditures in National defense fell 11.5% during the first three months of 2013 after plummeting by 22.1% during the last quarter of 2012.

 

Durable Orders Fall in U.S. by more than 5% Durable Orders Fall in U.S. by more than 5%

April 25, 2013 - Durable Goods orders for March in the U.S. dropped by 5.7%, the largest drop in the past seven months, which adds to evidence that U.S. manufacturing has cooled off during the latter part of the first quarter this year.

Lower prices in commodities and weak markets overseas, have slowed the demand for companies like Caterpillar, Inc, indicating a cooling of manufacturing the last month of the first quarter.

Durable goods orders, which are bookings for products meant to last a minimum of three years dropped following a revised gain of 4.3% for February.

The February gain was less than what had been originally estimated, reported the U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday.

The category that is less volatile that excludes equipment for transportation dropped unexpectedly for the second straight month. Companies are feeling a pinch, with customers reining in their spending on inventories and equipment due to concerns that the federal budget cuts that took effect across the board in March and slower growth internationally will slow down the largest economy in the world.

However, gains in auto and housing are helping others and supporting even more expansion. Most stocks were up on Wednesday, which extended a rally in the S&P 500 for the fourth consecutive day, as companies from Apple to Boeing reported their earnings.

While the data about orders indicated a cooling of business investment during the first quarter following a climb of 11.8% based on an annualized rate in the final quarter of 2012, it is still a rising trend.

Overseas, the latest figures for early in the second quarter showed that Europe was not making much progress in emerging from its deep recession.

Morgan Stanley Reports lower Revenue, but Higher Profits Morgan Stanley Reports lower Revenue, but Higher Profits

April 18, 2013 - Morgan Stanley saw a slowdown in its trading activity during the first three months of 2013, which caused the securities firm to have lower revenues. However, due to its cost controls the firm recorded higher profits.

Revenues for Morgan Stanley dropped to $8.5 billion in the first quarter compared to $8.9 billion during the same period a year ago. Advisory fees, equity trading and fixed income all traded lower during the quarter.

Morgan Stanley was able to exceed forecasts on revenue by analysts but missed in earnings. The company earned 50 cents per share for the first three months of this year, which was better than the same period a year ago when the company experienced a per share loss of 5 cents, but did not meet the analyst’s estimate of 53 cents per share.

Morgan Stanley’s net income for the quarter was $84 million, compared to a loss last year during the first quarter of $94 million.

Nevertheless, the adjust earnings per share of 61 cents, which takes out profit and loss that companies must record from swings in their own debt value, compared favorably with the estimates of analysts that were 56 cents per share.

CEO James Gorman, said the quarter showed the firm had solid momentum in all sectors. Gorman previously stated the industry would have to adjust to many new regulations by eliminating jobs and not handing out lavish bonuses.

Morgan’s wealth management announced revenues of more than $3.5 billion compared to last year’s figure of $3.3 billion. Morgan Stanley is set to pay the last 35% of its stake in the joint venture with Smith Barney for over $4.7 billion during June.

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