Business news briefs
to stay on time
Airlines are struggling this year to get planes to the gate on time. The government said Thursday that 80.3 percent of flights by U.S. carriers arrived on time in January and February. That's down from a record 84.9 percent during last year's storm-free winter. Delta was best among the nation's five largest airlines, at 86.2 percent. JetBlue was next to last, at 68.8 percent, as a huge snowstorm hit its hubs in Boston and New York.
U.S. jobless claims
plummet to 346K
The number of Americans seeking first-time unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, to a seasonally adjusted 346,000 from 388,000. The drop nearly reversed three straight weeks of increases. Economists say weekly claims below 350,000 indicate a moderately growing labor market.
Cold March keeps
retail sales tepid
U.S. retailers reported a key revenue figure rose slightly during March. Shoppers curtailed their spending, probably because of the cold weather across the nation, particularly the Midwest and East Coast, and because of continued fears about the economy. Consumer spending accounts for more than 70 percent of economic activity.
charge hits KPMG
Bryan Shaw, owner of a Los Angeles-area jewelry business, bestowed gifts on Scott I. London, a senior partner at accounting giant KPMG. In return, Shaw received secret information about KPMG clients, and earned more than $1 million by illegally trading in the shares of the clients' companies, federal prosecutors allege. London faces criminal charges.
Cheaper oil takes
bite out of imports
Prices paid by U.S. importers fell last month after two straight increases, driven down by cheaper oil. The Labor Department said import prices dropped 0.5 percent in March after a 0.6 percent gain the previous month. The cost of fuel imports declined 1.9 percent. Excluding fuel, import costs fell 0.2 percent.
Burger King CEO
moves to Heinz helm
Heinz's new owner, 3G Capital, is tapping Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees as the food company's next top executive, a move that installs one of it own at the helm of the ketchup maker. Hees is a 3G partner. Heinz shareholders are set to vote on the move at a meeting April 30.
Judge won't dismiss
Martha Stewart suit
A New York State Supreme Court judge has rejected a motion by lawyers for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to dismiss Macy's claim that the merchandising and media company violated its pact when it developed certain products for competitor J.C. Penney, even though they don't carry the home designer's name. He cautioned that his decision doesn't mean Macy's will win the lawsuit against Martha Stewart Living.