Business Briefs – February 1, 2016

Google Parent Tops Apple As World’s Most Valuable Company

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Alphabet, Google’s new parent company, topped Apple as the world’s most valuable business in after-hours trading Monday after reporting surging earnings.

Alphabet Inc. earned $4.9 billion in net income on revenue of $21.3 billion in the fourth quarter. If not for employee stock expenses and certain other items, Google said it would have earned $8.67 per share. That figure easily topped the average estimate of $8.10 per share.

The earnings report provided the most detailed breakdown yet on the profits pouring in from Google’s dominant search engine and ad network. Investors pushed up Alphabet stock $44.23, or more than 5 percent, to $815 in extended trading.

U.S. Consumer Spending Flat, Savings Rate at 3-Year High

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer spending was unchanged in December after rising 0.5 percent in November, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Incomes increased 0.3 percent, matching November’s gain.

Higher incomes and flat spending pushed the savings rate to 5.5 percent of after-tax income in December. That was the highest level since December 2012.

U.S. Construction Spending Hit 8-Year-High in 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending rebounded slightly in December, helping push total spending for 2015 to the highest level in eight years.

Construction spending increased 0.1 percent in December after falling in October and November, the Commerce Department said Monday.

The December increase was driven by gains in home construction and spending on government projects.

That offset declines in spending on private construction of shopping centers, office buildings and hotels.