Business Highlights


After setting iPhone record, Apple forecasts rare sales drop

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is bracing for its first sales decline in 13 years, despite selling a record 74.8 million iPhones in the final three months of 2015.

The giant tech company issued a sales forecast that says revenue could fall at least 8.6 per cent during the January-March quarter, compared with a year earlier. Analysts say the latest iPhone models are selling reasonably well, but they’re not providing the boost Apple needs to match the massive sales growth it enjoyed last year.

Apple counts on the iPhone for two-thirds of its revenue.


Health care fines press millennials as sign-up deadline nears

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of young adults healthy enough to think they don’t need insurance face painful choices this year as the sign-up deadline approaches for President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Fines for being uninsured rise sharply in 2016 — averaging nearly $1,000 per household, according to an independent estimate. It’s forcing those in their 20s and 30s to take a hard look and see if they can squeeze in coverage to avoid penalties. Many are trying to establish careers or just make progress in a still-bumpy economy.


JPMorgan to pay $1.42 billion to Lehman Brothers

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.42 billion to settle allegations that it withheld critical funds from Lehman Brothers in the final days leading up to Lehman’s collapse during the financial crisis.

Lehman’s failure is considered a critical moment in the financial crisis, one that helped deepen and extend the U.S. recession.

As Lehman’s clearing bank, JP Morgan provided the cash that Lehman used to do business every day. In the final days leading up to Lehman’s failure, JPMorgan executives began to worry that the collateral Lehman pledged was less valuable than Lehman said it was.

And JPMorgan required Lehman to pledge increasing amounts of collateral in order to keep Lehman’s operations open.


Chase planning rollout of card-free ATMs

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan Chase customers will soon be able to withdraw cash or initiate other transactions using their cellphone at Chase ATMs being upgraded later this year.

The move will include new cash machines that don’t require a card and upgrades to existing machines that will allow customers to withdraw more money and in different denominations. The withdrawal limit will also be substantially higher, up to $3,000 during branch hours.

The first generation of these new ATMs will allow customers to access the machine by inputting a code found on their Chase mobile app. Future upgrades will allow customers to use their cellphone’s near-field wireless communication feature to access their accounts.


After stimulus hint, ECB chief under pressure to deliver

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, has a tricky six weeks ahead of him.

The head of the top monetary authority for the 19-country eurozone helped stem a global stock market slide last week by indicating the ECB could provide more stimulus at the next meeting in March.

That was a big deal for markets, but now Draghi has the challenge of backing up words with action. He must defuse a restless minority of stimulus skeptics on the bank’s governing council and come up with something convincing — or risk disappointing the already frazzled financial markets, triggering another drop in stocks.


American consumers showing more confidence in economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A strong job market and low gasoline prices helped boost U.S. consumer confidence again this month.

The Conference Board on Tuesday said that its consumer confidence index rose to 98.1 in January from 96.3 in December, the second straight monthly gain. The business research group said Americans were more confident about the future, though their assessment of current economic conditions was unchanged from December.

Consumers shrugged off the recent sharp decline in the stock market and signs of economic weakness overseas.


Weak demand sinks 3M’s 4Q profit and revenue

NEW YORK (AP) — Weaker demand for consumer and industrial goods drove 3M’s fourth-quarter profit and revenue lower, but the results still topped Wall Street expectations.

The maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics reported a 12 per cent drop in profit to $1.04 billion, or $1.66 per share. Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs, were $1.80 per share. Revenue fell 5.5 per cent to $7.3 billion in the period.


Johnson & Johnson beats 4Q profit views despite lower sales

Johnson & Johnson posted a 28 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profit, beating Wall Street expectations, as the sale of one of its business units offset the strong dollar and multiple charges.

The world’s biggest health care product company said on Tuesday that net income was $3.2 billion, or $1.15 per share, for the period. Adjusted net income was $4.04 billion, or $1.44 per share, beating market forecasts.

Revenue fell 2.4 per cent to $17.81 billion, hurt by the dollar that has weighed on other U.S. multinationals as well.


P&G 2Q profit jumps 35 per cent on pricing, lower costs

NEW YORK (AP) — Procter & Gamble Co. on Tuesday reported a higher quarterly profit that topped expectations as price hikes and cost-cutting offset a decline in sales volume.

The world’s largest consumer products maker has been slimming down its offerings and slashing costs. That helped push organic sales higher by 2 per cent. This closely watched figure strips out the effects of foreign currency swings, acquisitions and divestitures.

Total sales volume declined 2 per cent for the quarter.


Stock rise, driven by a turn higher in crude oil prices

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks jumped Tuesday as the price of oil made another abrupt reversal, this time rising almost 4 per cent after falling sharply the day before.

Energy stocks climbed along with the price of oil, and Chevron and Exxon Mobil made major gains. Strong fourth-quarter results from beleaguered wireless provider Sprint gave telecom stocks a boost. Quarterly earnings also sent several stocks higher, including Post-it Notes maker 3M, Procter & Gamble, which makes Crest toothpaste, and luxury handbag maker Coach.


Obama administration loosens Cuba embargo with new measures

HAVANA (AP) — The Obama administration is loosening the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba with a new round of regulations allowing American companies to sell to Cuba on credit and export a potentially wide range of products to the Cuban government for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The changes are President Barack Obama’s third attempt to spur U.S.-Cuba commerce despite an embargo that still prohibits most forms of trade with the island.

U.S. hopes of building wider trade between American businesses and Cuba’s private sector have been largely frustrated by Congressional reluctance to end the embargo itself and by the island’s labyrinthine restrictions on imports, exports and private business.


The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 282.01 points, or 1.8 per cent, to close at 16,167.23. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 26.55 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 1,903.63. The Nasdaq composite index added 49.18 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 4,567.67.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1.7 cents to $1.047 a gallon and heating oil gained 3.2 cents, or 3.5 per cent, to 96.8 cents. Natural gas added 2.2 cents to $2.18 per 1,000 cubic feet.