Stocks dip for week
Strong company earnings boosted stocks on Wall Street on Friday. Investors also saw a chance to add to their holdings after declines earlier in the week. In the Dow’s worst week in more than a month, it still shed only a fraction of a percentage point.
$11B farm subsidy
Farmers will be paid a record $16 billion in crop insurance claims for 2012 because of the widespread drought, a staggering amount that has critics calling for changes to what they say is an inefficient taxpayer subsidy the government cannot afford. One analyst estimates the federal part of the claims for 2012 will come to about $11 billion.
Solar energy exit
Germany’s Bosch says it is abandoning its solar energy business because there’s no way to make it economically viable amid overcapacity and price pressure in the industry. The engineering company said it will stop making components such as solar cells and wafers at the beginning of next year.
New Goodyear blimps
Goodyear is building the first of a new generation of its iconic blimps. The tire maker said the blimp built in Germany by ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik will be assembled at Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake Hangar near the company’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio.
The Food and Drug Administration will require makers of heart-zapping defibrillators to submit more data on their safety and effectiveness following years of recalls of the emergency devices. The devices have been plagued by design and manufacturing flaws for years. The FDA says it has received 45,000 reports of problems with defibrillators between 2005 and 2012.
French tax reduced
The French government’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy is being radically scaled back after a second legal opinion said the proposed marginal rate of 75 percent was unfair. A high-level advisory council agreed with the nation’s top court and said the rate on those with incomes above 1 million euros could not exceed 60 percent.
Darden profit falls
Darden Restaurants’ third-quarter net income dropped 18 percent, as it dealt with soft sales at Red Lobster. The company said sales at its Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants open at least a year fell a combined 4.6 percent.
Safety board annoyed
Boeing’s comments about the smoldering batteries on its 787 have annoyed the National Transportation Safety Board. Boeing gave its own account of two battery incidents, which included a fire, at a detailed press briefing in Tokyo last week, but didn’t “inform the NTSB of the content” first.
BP $8B share buyback
Oil company BP said it will buy back $8 billion of shares using money it earned by selling its stake in Russian producer TNK-BP. The deal gave it $12.5 billion in cash and a stake in the state-owned oil company.
Google on Myanmar
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt urged Myanmar’s government to allow private businesses to develop the country’s woeful telecommunications infrastructure, emphasizing the importance of competition and free speech. Schmidt said the Internet can help cement political and economic opening in Myanmar.
Tiffany earnings weak
Tiffany says fourth-quarter net income edged up less than 1 percent, as strong customer demand in Asia for its pricey baubles offset weakness in the U.S. The results, which include the critical holiday season, show Tiffany’s resilience even as it faces challenges in the U.S. and a fiscal crisis in Europe.