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Business Highlights

The same problems are still plaguing HP, but signs of progress in the latest quarter indicated that the company's turnaround efforts are running ahead of schedule. CEO Meg Whitman has consistently said it may be several years before HP is on solid ground again.

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Nordstrom 4th-quarter net income rises

SEATTLE (AP) â¿¿ Nordstrom said Thursday its fourth-quarter net income rose 20 percent as high-end shoppers kept spending on clothing and makeup, and customers responded positively to its service improvements.

But annual guidance disappointed investors and Nordstrom's shares fell 2 percent in aftermarket trading.

Luxury spending has stayed strong despite the uncertain economy. Nordstrom has also improved customer service with free shipping offers and checkouts via mobile devices anywhere in the store. Top performing categories included men's, women's and kids clothing as well as makeup. Online sales were a strong point, up 31 percent and surpassing $1 billion for the first time.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 46.92 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,880.62.

The S&P 500 index dropped 9.53, or 0.6 percent, to 1,502.42. The S&P is headed for its first weekly loss of the year. The Nasdaq composite index lost 32.92, or 1 percent, to 3,131.49.

U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $2.38, or 2.5 percent, to finish at $92.84 per barrel in New York, the second drop of 2 percent in two days. Brent crude, which is used to price oil used to make gasoline in many U.S. refineries, fell $2.07 to end at $113.53.

Natural gas fell 3 cents to finish at $3.25 per thousand cubic feet. Heating oil fell 6 cents to end at $3.10 per gallon. Wholesale gasoline for April dropped by 2 cents to finish at $3.24 per gallon.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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