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World Business Quick Take



Alcoa Q4 loss smaller

Alcoa Inc on Monday reported a smaller net loss for the fourth quarter, though revenue shrank as higher metal prices were offset by ongoing weakness in aerospace, construction and gas turbine businesses. Alcoa’s quarterly performance marks the unofficial beginning of the earnings season for S&P 500 companies, and it can be a sign of things to come. The report was released after the market closed and Alcoa’s shares fell in aftermarket activity. The Pittsburgh company reported a net loss of US$277 million, or US$0.28 per share, compared with a loss of US$1.19 billion, or US$1.49 per share, a year ago.


Current account surplus rises

The country’s current account surplus grew in November for a fourth straight month, boosted by solid exports to the rest of Asia, government data showed yesterday. The surplus in the current account — the broadest measure of trade with the rest of the world — rose 76.9 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.10 trillion (US11.9 billion) in the month, the finance ministry said. The world’s second-largest economy logged a trade surplus of ¥490.6 billion, against a deficit of ¥92.2 billion in the same month of the previous year.


Airbus to double output

Plane maker Airbus aims to double output of its new A380 superjumbo this year, chief operating officer Fabrice Breguier said in an interview published yesterday. “Airbus’ objective is to double A380 deliveries in 2010,” Breguier was quoted as saying in the French business daily Les Echos. “Our objective is deliver 20 A380s this year, attaining a stable rate of two planes per month in the second half of the year,” he said. In 2008 Airbus delivered 12 of the superjumbos.


Fed made record profits

The Federal Reserve made record profits last year of about US$45 billion that will be returned to the coffers at the Treasury, the Washington Post reported on Monday. The Post said the figure, which it said was according to its own calculations based on public records, would be the highest earnings in the Fed’s 96-year history. The newspaper noted that much of the profits came about because of the Fed’s program of buying bonds with the aim of driving down interest rates and fueling growth in the hobbled the domestic economy.


AOL to trim workforce

US Internet company AOL said on Monday it would cut jobs after a voluntary departure program failed to meet a target of trimming one-third of its global workforce. The Internet pioneer, which was spun off from media giant Time Warner last month after a troubled merger, had announced in November it would take a US$200 million charge as part of a restructuring as it regained independence.


BMW expects growth

German automaker BMW expects a return to global sales growth this year, helped by emerging markets like China, after a difficult period last year, its head of sales said on Monday. “We see markets starting to recover,” Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing, told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show, adding that BMW was aiming for “single digit growth.” BMW, which owns the BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini brands, reported a 10.4 percent drop in global sales last year, for a total of 1.29 million vehicles.

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