Business Briefs – February 1, 2018

Amazon’s Quarterly Profit Tops $1 Billion for First Time

NEW YORK (AP) – It was a prime year-end season for Amazon: The online retailer’s quarterly profit soared past $1 billion for the first time in its more than 20-year history as it sold more voice-activated gadgets, enlisted new Prime members and benefited from its recent purchase of Whole Foods.

The Seattle-based company’s profit was also helped by recent changes to the tax law, giving it a $789 million tax benefit during the fourth quarter.

Amazon on Thursday reported net income of $1.9 billion, or $3.75 per share, in the three months ending Dec. 31. That blew past the $1.88 per share analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Revenue soared 38 percent to $60.5 billion in the fourth quarter, beating the $59.8 billion analysts expected.

Amazon.com Inc.’s stock jumped 6 percent in after-hours trading Thursday.

Strong January, Strong Year? A Market Maxim’s Record Falters

NEW YORK (AP) – An old stock market maxim, “as January goes, so goes the year,” hasn’t been as reliable in recent years as it used to be. The January indicator has been “wrong” eight times since 2001; between 1950 and 2000, January was only “incorrect” seven times.

Apple Dealing With iPhone Jitters, Coming Off Big Quarter

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Apple is making more money than ever, but it doesn’t seem to be enough as conspiracy theories swirl around the company’s secret slowdown of older iPhones and a cloud of uncertainty looms over its high-priced iPhone X. Those issues represent a reality check for a company accustomed to an unflinchingly loyal customer base that was expected to embrace the iPhone X as a revolutionary device worth its unprecedented $1,000 price.

What Yellen’s Fed Tenure Will Be Remembered For

WASHINGTON (AP) – When Janet Yellen leaves the Federal Reserve this weekend after four years as chair, her legacy will include being the first woman to have led the world’s most powerful central bank. She will be remembered, too, for her achievements in deftly steering the Fed’s role in the U.S. economy’s rebound from a crushing financial crisis and recession.

U.S. Factories Grew Again in January but a Bit More Slowly

WASHINGTON (AP) – American manufacturers expanded again last month but more slowly than in December. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reports that its manufacturing index dipped to 59.1 in January from a revised 59.3 in December. But any reading above 50 signals growth, and U.S. factories have been expanding for 17 straight months.

January U.S. Auto Sales Expected To Rise Only a Little

DETROIT (AP) – January U.S. auto sales are expected to grow just a little as rebates and other deals wane after a December buying spree. Cox Automotive and J.D. Power are predicting that sales will rise around 1 percent to roughly 1.15 million vehicles.

United Joins Delta in Tightening Rules for Comfort Animals

DALLAS (AP) – United Airlines wants to see more paperwork before passengers fly with emotional-support animals. The airline announced Thursday that it will tighten rules starting March 1. The changes are similar to those coming at Delta Air Lines. United said owners will have to confirm that their animal is trained to behave in public, and they will need a vaccination form signed by a veterinarian. The vet will have to vouch the animal isn’t a health or safety threat to other people.