Among the earnings stories for Thursday, Feb. 21, from the AP Financial Desk:
NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ As go the fortunes of many Americans, so goes Wal-Mart's, and so goes the economy.
Even as the world's largest retailer on Thursday reported a nearly 9 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit during the busy holiday shopping season, it offered a weaker forecast for the coming months. The problem? The poor and middle-class Americans that Wal-Mart caters to â¿¿ and who are big drivers of spending in the U.S. â¿¿ are struggling with rising gas prices, delayed income tax refunds and higher payroll taxes.NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ American International Group lost $4 billion in the last three months of 2012 as the insurer absorbed costs related to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy and the sale of its airplane leasing unit. PITTSBURGH (AP) â¿¿ Food maker H.J. Heinz says its fiscal third quarter net income fell 5 percent as gains in emerging markets were offset by costs related to selling a frozen food business in China. 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. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Slumping personal computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co.'s latest quarterly results provided a glimmer of hope after months of gloomy news. Other stories: OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) â¿¿ TreeHouse Foods Inc. reported fourth-quarter net income that beat market expectations Thursday as the food manufacturer's sales improved. The company also said the challenges of rising food costs and grocery-industry issues that weighed on it in 2012 appear to moderating. ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) â¿¿ Home shopping network operator HSN Inc. reported Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit jumped on an increase in revenue as consumers bought more of its goods.