AP Business NewsBrief at 8:30 a.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sprint posts big 4Q loss, revenue risesNEW YORK (AP) _ Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third largest wireless carrier, on Thursday said it lost $1.3 billion in its fourth quarter, about the same as a year ago, as it revamped its network for a comeback versus bigger competitors. The company's focus, and that of its investors, is on its long-term turnaround efforts rather than on short-term results. Sprint is selling 70 percent of itself to Japanese carrier Softbank Corp. for $20 billion. That deal is expected to close this summer, and provide long-ailing Sprint with a much-needed infusion of capital.
Sony trims quarterly loss to $115 millionTOKYO (AP) _ Sony Corp. is still struggling but managed to reduce its red ink for the latest quarter as the Japanese electronics and entertainment company aims for a comeback from record yearly losses. Sony on Thursday reported a 10.7 billion yen ($115 million) loss for the October-December quarter compared with a 158 billion yen loss a year earlier.
Futures higher ahead of data on mood of consumersNEW YORK (AP) _ Stock futures are moving higher with new data expected to show fewer Americans seeking unemployment benefits and another rise in consumer borrowing. Dow Jones industrial futures are up 19 points to 13,947. The broader S&P futures have added 2.7 points to 1,509.50. Nasdaq futures are up 3.75 points to 2,741.
ECB keep rates on hold at record lowBERLIN (AP) _ The European Central Bank says it is keeping its benchmark rate at a record low 0.75 percent despite pressure from hard-pressed businesses for a cut. The bank announced the decision on a conference call Thursday.
HK poor in cages shows dark side of property boomHONG KONG (AP) _ For many of the richest people in Hong Kong, one of Asia's wealthiest cities, home is a mansion with an expansive view from the heights of Victoria Peak. For some of the poorest, like Leung Cho-yin, home is a metal cage. The 67-year-old former butcher pays 1,300 Hong Kong dollars ($167) a month for one of about a dozen wire mesh cages resembling rabbit hutches crammed into a dilapidated apartment in a gritty, working-class West Kowloon neighborhood.
Alcatel-Lucent boss leaving as losses mountPARIS (AP) _ Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen is leaving the loss-making French-U.S. telecommunications gear maker after a failed four-year bid to turn the business around. Verwaayen said in a statement Thursday that it was "clear to me that now is an appropriate moment" for Alcatel-Lucent to seek new leadership. Investors cheered the news, with shares jumping 7.7 percent in early trading to (EURO)1.40.
Japan's TEPCO gears up for US shale gas importsTOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the devastated Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, plans to buy liquefied natural gas from the LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, raising expectations Japan will tap into the U.S. shale gas boom. TEPCO plans to buy 400,000 tons of LNG a year, for 20 years beginning in 2017, from the Cameron project through trading house Mitsui & Co. It expects a similar deal with Mitsubishi Corp. and other deals that would boost its imports by 1.2 million tons a year.
Daimler sees Q4 profit rise on one-off gainBERLIN (AP) _ A one-off gain from the sale of an investment helped boost German automaker Daimler AG's net profit in the fourth quarter of 2012, offsetting the impact of higher costs. The company, based in Stuttgart, said Thursday that net profit was (EURO)2.3 billion ($3.1 billion), up from (EURO)1.79 billion in the same quarter last year, thanks to the sale of a 7.5 percent stake in European defense company EADS.
European stocks up, but Nikkei retreats from highsLONDON (AP) _ European stock indexes rose on Thursday, despite a retreat in many Asian markets, ahead of a policy meeting by the European Central Bank and amid mostly upbeat corporate news. The FTSE 100 index of leading British companies rose almost 0.1 percent to 6,296.97 while Germany's DAX increased 0.2 percent to 7,597.03. France's CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent at 3,652.91.
Oil prices close to $97 ahead of ECB meetingThe price of oil inched up to near $97 a barrel on Thursday, as markets awaited the outcome of a European Central Bank policy meeting and a report on U.S. jobless claims. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for March delivery was up 29 cents to $96.91 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 2 cents to finish at $96.62 a barrel on Wednesday, recovering from a low of $95.04 earlier in the session.
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