Austin American-Statesman Business Digest column
Mar 21, 2013 (Austin American-Statesman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Oracle shares fall on weak 3rd quarter report
NEW YORK-- Oracle Corp. on Wednesday reported flat earnings for its fiscal third quarter, hurt by a continued drop in sales of hardware systems and a surprise decline in sales of new software -- which the company attributed to a lackluster performance by its expanding sales force rather than lack of demand. Shares of the business software bellwether tumbled in after-hours trading on the weaker-than-expected results.
Hardware systems revenue dropped 16 percent. Revenue from new software licenses and online or "cloud" subscriptions, a closely watched figure, fell 2 percent year-over-year to $2.3 billion.
Oracle, like other established software companies, is facing increasing competition from rivals that sell software as a subscription service rather than a packaged product. As one of the world's largest makers of business software, Oracle's numbers help Wall Street gauge the direction of corporate technology budgets. When Oracle's earnings are lackluster, it's often a sign that companies are concerned about the economy.
Rate on 30-year mortgage dips to 3.54%
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week and remained near historic lows, a trend that has supported a recovery in housing.
Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 3.54 percent from 3.63 percent last week. That's near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating to 1971.
The average rate on the 30-year loan has been below 4 percent now for a full year. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage slipped last week to 2.72 percent from 2.79 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent.
Nike 3rd quarter net income jumps
BEAVERTON, Ore -- Nike Inc. said Thursday its third-quarter net income rose 55 percent as the athletic gear maker's resurgence in North America and easing material costs helped offset continued weakness in China.
The world's largest athletic shoe and clothing company's results beat expectations and its shares jumped 8 percent in aftermarket trading.
Like most global companies, Nike Inc. has been dealing with Europe's fluctuating economy and a slowdown in growth in China. It also has been focusing on growth in North America, selling off less profitable brands like Umbro to focus on core brands like Nike.
The company's quarterly results show Nike's strategy is paying off in North America, but it's still facing weakness in China. North American revenue, which accounts for 40 percent of revenue, rose 18 percent to $2.55 billion. Revenue in China, which accounts for 10 percent of revenue, was down 9 percent to $635 million.
BlackBerry CEO says iPhone is outdated
TORONTO -- The chief executive of BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion says Apple's iPhone is outdated.
Thorsten Heins made the comment a day before the much-delayed new touchscreen BlackBerry goes on sale in the U.S.
Heins also said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that a new keyboard version won't be released in the U.S. until two or three months from now.
Both models are part of RIM's attempt at a comeback after the pioneering brand lost its cachet not long after Apple's 2007 release of the iPhone.
Heins says a lack of innovation at Apple has left iPhone's user interface outdated. He says users have to go in and out of applications and it doesn't allow for multitasking like the new BlackBerry Z10 does.
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