GE posts higher Q4 profit
General Electric Co (GE) posted increased revenue and profit for the fourth quarter on rising sales in emerging markets, higher banking profit, and stronger global sales of aircraft engines and oil and gas drilling equipment. However, GE shares fell 2.3 percent on Friday, because the company failed to increase its profit margin as much as it had predicted. Its profit for the full year rose, although revenue fell slightly, as the firm continues its transformation from a sprawling conglomerate to a more focused industrial company that builds and services complex equipment such as CT scanners, locomotives and gas-fired turbines. GE reported that its net income rose 5 percent to US$4.2 billion, or US$0.41 per share, for the October-December period on revenue of US$40.38 billion. That is up from US$4.01 billion, or US$0.38 per share, on revenue of US$39.16 billion in the previous year.
UPS misses profit forecasts
United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) reported preliminary fourth-quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates after a surge in online shopping just before Christmas forced it to hire more temporary workers than planned and miss holiday deliveries. The company expects earnings per share of US$1.25 (NT$37.50), it said in a statement, falling short of an average estimate of US$1.43 from 26 analysts. Atlanta-based UPS expects to report an adjusted profit of US$4.57 a share for last year, below its prior projection of US$4.65 to US$4.85, it said. Analysts anticipated US$4.75 on average. UPS will report results on Jan. 30.
France may raise target
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Friday that the economy could grow by more than 1 percent this year, higher than the 0.9 percent forecast until now, if new government reforms lead to a return in confidence. “There is a fundamental psychological element of the economy, if all participants ... can mobilize themselves, confidence can return and investment will accelerate,” Moscovici told the daily Le Monde. France has been looking to ride the general global recovery, with growth picking up after a near stagnant 2013. However, French President Francois Hollande announced this week the intention to jump-start the economy with 30 billion euros (US$41 billion) in cuts to payroll taxes and further efforts to balance public finances with 50 billion euros in spending cuts over three years.
Banks drop advance loans
Wells Fargo & Co and US Bancorp are among lenders that plan to stop offering advance loans to direct deposit customers, as the business comes under pressure from regulators and consumer advocates. Wells Fargo, the biggest US home lender, is shutting down its service starting on Feb. 1, the company said yesterday in a statement. Minneapolis-based US Bancorp, the nation’s largest regional lender, said its program would end on Jan. 31, as did Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp. Regions Financial Corp announced on Jan. 15 that it would discontinue its Ready Advance service this year. Banks are abandoning these products amid intensifying scrutiny from regulators about their high costs and similarities to payday lending.