Air Traffic Controllers Furlough Ends
The House of Representatives approved a bill on Friday, after it was passed by
the Senate late Thursday, to end furloughs of air-traffic controllers, which
have caused travel delays nationwide that angered U.S. fliers. White House
spokesman Jay Carney said it would be “good news” for U.S. travelers if Congress
acts to stop flight delays. The bill allows the Federal Aviation Administration
to redirect up to $253 million from other areas of its budget to “prevent
reduced operations and staffing” for the rest of the government’s budget year,
which ends September 30. Carney said President Barack Obama would sign the bill
and added that, “ultimately, this is not more than a temporary Band-Aid that
fails the address the overarching threat to our economy posed by the sequesters
mindless across-the-board cuts.”
Online retail giant Amazon.com (AMZN) reported 22% sales growth in Q1, worldwide
paid unit growth of 30% and operating income of $181 million. Company reported
net income of $82 million or 18 cents per share, an increase in revenue by 22%
to $16.07 billion and global media sales rose 7.3% to nearly $5.1 billion, while
sales of electronics and other general merchandise jumped 28% to $10.2 billion.
CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement, “We hope Amazon Originals can become yet
another way for us to create value for Prime members.” Projected revenue for Q2
came in a range of $14.5 billion to $16.2 billion and operating income expected
to come in the range of a $340 million operating loss and $10 million in
operating earnings. Amazon has a long history of being ultra-conservative in its
outlook. Amazon’s growing Web services business AWS, saw a rise by nearly 45%
from the same period in 2012 even after they lowered prices in the AWS service 7
times since the first of the 2013. Amazon chief financial officer Tom Szkutak
said on a conference call that the AWS business was “certainly a very big part”
of the service revenue gains, but didn’t spell out any further details on the
National Oilwell Varco (NOV) reported Q1 earnings fell 17%, due in part to
acquisition charges. The company reported a profit of $502 million, or $1.17 a
share, down from $606 million or $1.42 a share in year ago period. Revenue rose
by 23% to $5.31 billion, earnings came in at $1.29 a share and gross margin fell
to 24.3%. Revenue for rig-technology segment rose by 16% to $2.63 billion and
backlog for capital equipment orders at its rig technology segment rose by 24%
to $12.92 billion at March 31, for a new record. New orders during Q1 were $3.04
billion. Petroleum services and supplies unit's revenue remained flat at $1.7
billion. Primarily due to mergers completed in 2012, revenue from the
distribution and transmission segment doubled to $1.23 billion. "The North
American market was softer than anticipated; however, our strong backlog for
drilling equipment, coupled with the recent investments that we have made in
acquisitions, international expansion and incremental capacity, enabled our
company to generate solid earnings in the first quarter," Chairman and Chief
Executive Pete Miller said.
U.S. Commerce Department released Q1 Gross Domestic Product - he value of goods
and services produced in the U.S. and the broadest measure of economic health -
on Friday, expanding at a 2.5% annual rate as businesses restocked warehouses
shelves at a faster clip and consumer spending posted the biggest increase in
more than two years. Purchases rose 3.2% with higher prices at the gas pump
during January and February contributing to the increase. Spending on home
construction surged 12.6%. Inflation-adjusted disposable income - money left
over after taxes - fell 5.3%. The drop reflects the increase in payroll taxes at
the start of 2013 that’s expected to constrain consumer spending over the next
few months. Real final sales rose by only 1.5%, matching the smallest increase
in two years. Imports surged 5.4% in Q1, subtracting from U.S. GDP. Exports
climbed 2.9%. Price index of personal consumption expenditures rose at 0.9%
annual rate, down from 1.6% in the prior two quarters. Underlying strength of
demand for U.S. made goods and services was weaker during Q1. Government
spending reportedly was sharply lower, down 4.1% as the back-to-back drop in
military outlays was the steepest drop since the 1950s. Businesses boosted
inventory investment by $50.3 billion. Pentagon-related outlays dropped by11.5%.
PCE index climbed 1.2% minus food and energy. The declines in the past two
quarters are the deepest since the end of World War Two and the early stages of
the Cold War.
Consumer-sentiment fell to a final April reading of 76.4, to the lowest result
since January from a final March reading of 78, per University of
Michigan-Thomson Reuters on Friday. During April, consumers were hit by higher
payroll taxes, negative news on federal spending, negative jobs data and, a rise
in stock prices as well as, a decline in gasoline at the pump.
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April 26, 2013