Business news briefs
Consumer prices in Utah fell 0.2 percent from December to January, while over the past 12 months prices increased 2.3 percent, according to Zions Bank's index for the Wasatch Front. Nationally, inflation reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics remained undeer 2 percent year-over-year, with a 0.3 percent increase in January from December.
Walmart profit up,
but growth slows
Walmart experienced a soft end to an otherwise solid year of profit and sales growth as customers started to hold back because of payroll tax increases, higher gasoline prices and delays in income tax refunds. The company reported fourth-quarter profit gains of 8.6 percent. Sales at stores open at least a year grew 1 percent in the fourth quarter. That's below the 1.5 percent growth analysts were expecting.
U.S. wine exports
surge to record
New figures show U.S. wine exports grew for the third consecutive year in 2012, setting a record of $1.43 billion in revenue. The San Francisco-based Wine Institute said 90 percent of those exports were from California. The European Union was the top market for California wines.
Sales of previously occupied homes rose in January to the second-highest level in three years, a sign the housing market is maintaining its recovery and helping to boost the economy. The National Association of Realtors said sales rose 0.4 percent in January, compared with December.
Carnival has an
edge in lawsuits
Lawsuits are already filed in this month's disastrous Triumph cruise ship voyage, but the legal deck is stacked in Carnival's favor, mainly because of the restrictive terms of the company's tickets governing who can sue and where. An engine fire stranded thousands of passengers onboard for days. Lawsuits involving Carnival ships must be filed in South Florida federal courts, near the company's headquarters.
Battling a declining demand for personal computers, Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest maker of PCs, reported lower quarterly earnings. Its net income fell 16 percent, to $1.2 billion, or 63 cents a share, from the year-ago quarter. The company said revenue fell 6 percent, to $28.4 billion.
ends opinion page
The Provo Daily Herald said this week it no longer will produce a daily opinion page, the latest move at the paper that has included layoffs of 10 percent of its workforce, including its executive editor. In a story, the paper's editors wrote that it would no longer have a daily opinion page but would still run a section on Sundays "made up of community voices."