Profits up at eBay
A surge in new customers and strong growth overseas caused eBay Inc.'s profit to jump 28 percent from the same period last year, and optimistic executives brightened their outlook for the rest of 2005.
Ebay, one of the world's largest e-commerce companies, announced first-quarter earnings Wednesday of $256.3 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with $200.1 million, or 15 cents per share in the same period of 2004.
Excluding special items, the 10-year-old online auction company earned $275.5 million, or 20 cents per share, up from $210.8 million, or 16 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2004.
NYSE buys into electronic trading
The 213-year-old New York Stock Exchange vaulted into the top ranks of electronic stock trading Wednesday, announcing a merger with all-electronic rival Archipelago Holdings Inc. in a stunning move that also will transform the NYSE into a for-profit, publicly traded enterprise.
The NYSE, famous around the world for its busy trading floor, says it has no intention of becoming an entirely computer-based exchange. Instead, by offering a fast electronic option alongside the slower-but-less-volatile floor-based operation, the NYSE hopes to compete effectively with its chief U.S. rival, the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., and tackle increasing global competition.
AMR, Continental hurt by fuel costs
Continental Airlines Inc. and AMR Corp., parent of the nation's largest airline carrier, American Airlines, said Wednesday that they lost money in the first quarter as high fuel costs more than offset increases in passenger traffic.
Low-fare carrier America West Holdings Corp., which is in merger talks with bankrupt US Airways Group Inc., swung to a profit, thanks in part to its decision to purchase much of its fuel in advance at lower prices.
With six of the nine largest airlines in the United States expected to post first-quarter losses that could approach a combined $2 billion, Continental Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Kellner predicted Wednesday that more industry consolidation was likely.
Ford earnings decline
Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it earned $1.2 billion in the first quarter, sharply below last year's results but far ahead of money-losing rival General Motors Corp.
Ford is cutting North American production and considering the sale of its Hertz Corp. car rental unit as it braces for a difficult year, the company said.
Ford said earnings for the January-March period amounted to 60 cents a share, compared with net income of $1.95 billion, or 94 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2004.