LinkedIn posts loss
LinkedIn began the year with its largest quarterly loss since going public as the online professional networking service ramped up its investments aimed at attracting more users seeking better jobs and career advice. Despite the setback, the first-quarter results released on Thursday beat the analyst projections that sway investors. LinkedIn has cleared Wall Street’s financial hurdles in all 12 of its quarters as a public company, a stretch dating back to May 2011. LinkedIn lost US$13.4 million, or US$0.11 per share, during the first three months of the year. That contrasted with earnings of US$22.6 million, or US$0.20 per share, at the same time last year. Another 19 million accounts were set up, and LinkedIn ended March with 296 million users.
RBS profit triples
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS), Britain’s largest state-owned lender, said first quarter-profit tripled as impairments fell and its Irish unit posted its first profit since the 2008 financial crisis. The stock soared. Net income rose to ￡1.2 billion (US$2.02 billion) from ￡393 million in the same period last year, beating the ￡200 million average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by the bank. Impairments for souring loans shrank to ￡362 million from ￡1.03 billion in year-earlier period, helped by its Ulster Bank and UK corporate units, RBS said in a statement yesterday. The bank said it expects a “modest increase” in net interest margin — the difference between its income from lending and its cost of funding — for the remainder of the year. The measure widened by 4 basis points in the quarter to 2.12 percent. The government owns 80 percent of RBS and the stock is still below the ￡0.407 at which the taxpayer would break even.
US sales climb by 8.1%
Automakers on Thursday reported generally higher US sales last month from a year ago, extending the spring thaw from the deep freeze in January and February amid brutal winter weather. A total of 1.39 million cars and trucks were sold in the US last month, a gain of 8.1 percent from a year ago and accelerating from March’s 5.7 percent annual pace, industry specialist AutoData said. However, sales slowed slightly month-over-month. Last month’s annual sales rate was 16 million vehicles, down from 16.4 million in March, AutoData reported. Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com, a car-shopping Web site, said that despite a trend toward fuel-efficient vehicles in recent years, car shoppers still showed strong interest in trucks and sport-utility vehicles. General Motors, the largest US automaker, said total sales rose 7 percent last month from a year ago, to 254,076 vehicles.
EBay in ‘anti-poaching’ deal
The online commerce company EBay Inc has agreed to stop making secret deals with other technology companies in which the firms agree to avoid hiring each other’s employees — deals that limit workers’ access to better jobs, US authorities said on Thursday. EBay had been accused by the US Department of Justice of reaching an agreement with Intuit Inc, a software company best known for its tax preparation programs, to not recruit from each other. The lawsuit, and similar legal issues involving other technology companies, highlight the competition for talent in Silicon Valley. In this case, EBay and Intuit reached a “handshake” deal in 2006 involving then-EBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Intuit founder Scott Cook, court documents said.