The stepped-up offerings come after McDonald’s managed to eke out a higher profit for the October-to-December period with a series of short-term maneuvers, such as touting its Dollar Menu, pushing back the two-week availability of its popular McRib to the second half of December when sales comparisons from a year-ago were tougher, and urging franchisees to stay open on Christmas.
Coach shares plunge on tough holiday quarter
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Coach Inc. plunged Wednesday after the upscale handbag seller said a challenging economy and heavy price-cutting by competitors weighed on its fiscal second-quarter results.
The muted holiday results offer more evidence that the shopping season was tough as shoppers grappled with the economic uncertainty brought on by the European recession and U.S. ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ negotiations.
Coach is considered a bellwether for upper-middle-income shoppers who trade up to luxury goods, so the latest snapshot raises concern about their spending, as well as that of the wealthy.
US Airways 4Q profit doubles as planes are fuller
US Airways’ net income doubled in the fourth quarter and executives said the strong demand the airline is seeing is often a precursor to higher fares.
Fuller planes made the difference in the last three months as revenue set a record.
Airlines successfully raised fares five times last year but have struggled to do so lately. Two attempts led by United this month failed after other airlines didn’t match the increases. For US Airways one measure of fares — called yield — declined very slightly in the fourth quarter.
Netflix’s stock soars on big 4Q subscriber gains
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix’s Internet video service warded off stiffer competition to add 2 million U.S. subscribers during the final three months of the year, producing an unexpected profit for the company.
The fourth-quarter performance announced Wednesday validates investors’ recent confidence in Netflix Inc. Its volatile stock had surged by more than 30 percent since early December. The stock soared another $34.49, or 33 percent, to $137.75 in after-hours trading after the numbers came out. If the shares trade similarly in Thursday’s session, it will propel Netflix’s stock to a new 52-week high.
The surge in new customers gave Netflix 27.1 million U.S. subscribers who stream movies and TV shows to Internet-connected devices.
US officials defend handling of Boeing 787 mishaps
WASHINGTON (AP) — Obama administration officials struggled Wednesday to defend their initial statements that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is safe while promising a transparent probe of mishaps involving the aircraft’s batteries.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stood by his Jan. 11 assertion that the 787, Boeing’s newest and most technologically advanced airliner, was safe. At that time LaHood and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Michael Huerta, declared the plane fit to fly despite a battery fire in one plane.
Five days later, following another battery mishap that led to the emergency landing of a 787 in Japan, LaHood and Huerta ordered United, the lone U.S. carrier with 787s, to ground the planes. Authorities in Europe and elsewhere — including Chile, Poland, Ethiopia, Qatar and India — swiftly followed suit. Two Japanese airlines voluntarily grounded their planes before the FAA’s order.
By The Associated Press(equals)
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 67.12 points to close at 13,779.33. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 2.25 points to 1,494.81, while the Nasdaq composite rose 10.49 points to 3,153.67.
Benchmark oil dropped $1.45, or 1.5 percent, to finish at $95.23 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 38 cents to end at $112.80 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Natural gas was flat at $3.55 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $2.83 per gallon. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $3.08 a gallon.