Business Tidbits

Apple Is Biggest U.S. Phone Seller for 1st Time

NEW YORK (AP) – The launch of the iPhone 5 and the declining popularity of not-so-smartphones have made Apple the biggest seller of phones in the U.S. for the first time, research firm Strategy Analytics said Friday.

The firm estimates that Apple shipped 17.7 million iPhones of all kinds to U.S. buyers in the October-to-December period, accounting for one in three new phones.

Samsung Electronics of Korea was close behind, shipping 16.8 million phones. Samsung has been the largest seller of phones to the U.S. market since 2008.

Refining Margins Boost 4Q Profit at Exxon Mobil

DALLAS (AP) – Exxon Mobil Corp. said Friday that fourth-quarter earnings rose 6 percent to $9.95 billion with help from higher refining profit margins.

The oil giant barely missed a record for full-year earnings. It earned $44.88 billion in 2012, about $340 million shy of its 2008 mark of $45.22 billion, an all-time high for a publicly traded company.

Exxon still makes most of its money by producing oil and gas, but that end of the business was less profitable than a year ago because of lower prices and production. The company made up the difference in the refining business.

Mattel 4Q Results Miss Wall Street’s Expectations

NEW YORK (AP) – Weak demand during the end-of-the-year shopping season for toys like Matchbox led Mattel’s results to fall short of expectations in the key quarter. A litigation charge also weighed on results and net income fell 17 percent.

Still the results from the world’s largest toymaker came in stronger than the overall toy industry, and company executives vowed to do better in 2013. The fourth quarter is key because toy makers can make up to 40 percent of annual sales during the period.

Boeing Engineers Begin Vote on Strike Next Week

SEATTLE (AP) – Just when Boeing really needs its engineers, they’re throwing around the idea of a strike.

Boeing is working around the clock to solve the battery problems that have grounded its 787s around the world. Its unionized engineers are a big part of that effort.

But on Monday, Boeing engineers begin voting on a new contract and on whether to authorize a strike. The union is urging them to reject the contract.

Chevron Profit Up On Asset Exchange, Refineries

NEW YORK (AP) – Chevron Corp. posted a 41 percent gain in net income for the fourth quarter as the company produced more oil and gas, improved the performance of its refinery business and realized a gain from swapping assets in an Australian natural gas field.

Chevron Corp. posted net income of $7.2 billion for the quarter on revenue of $60.6 billion. That’s up from $5.1 billion on revenue of $60 billion a year ago.

On a per-share basis, Chevron earned $3.70. Analysts expected the company to earn $3.06 per share, according to FactSet.