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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Business Briefs

The Detroit News

Midland -- Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker, reported Wednesday that its first-quarter profit surged more than fivefold to $718 million from a year earlier.

First-quarter net income rose to $551 million, or 41 cents a share, from $24 million, or 3 cents, compared with a year ago, Dow said.

"This quarter was indeed a pivotal point in giving the world a glimpse of our earnings' power," Dow CEO Andrew Liveris said in a conference call.

Federal-Mogul sales surge 20 percent

Auto parts supplier Federal-Mogul Corp. posted a $17 million first-quarter profit as sales surged 20 percent.

Net income was 15 cents a share, compared with a loss of $101 million, or $1.02, a year earlier, the Southfield-based company said Wednesday. The per-share results, excluding a charge for a Venezuelan currency devaluation of 35 cents, beat the 22-cent average of three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales rose to $1.49 billion, benefiting from improved demand worldwide.

Mitsubishi, Peugeot reach SUV deal

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and PSA Peugeot Citroën announced Wednesday that they have come to an agreement to collaborate on a compact SUV.

These new compact SUVs will have specific designs for Peugeot and Citroën while sharing many components with the Mitsubishi vehicle, named RVR in Japan and ASX in Europe.

Obama to appoint Yellen to Fed board

President Barack Obama today will name Janet Yellen as vice chairwoman of the Fed board of governors, according to two people familiar with the decision.

Obama also will name Sarah Bloom Raskin, Maryland's commissioner of financial regulation, and Peter Diamond, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for the two remaining open seats on the seven-person board, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity before the announcement.

The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.

Fed vows to hold line on rates for 'extended' period

Washington -- The Federal Reserve in a 9-1 decision Wednesday retained its pledge to hold rates at historic lows for an "extended period." Doing so will help energize the recovery.

GE glimpses light after conglomerate's cloudy year

Houston -- General Electric says the broader economy and its own business have stabilized, and that the "clouds are breaking" after one of the worst years ever for the conglomerate. The company, at its annual meeting in Houston, is telling investors that key economic indicators like housing and unemployment have stabilized, and that capital markets are improving. General Electric Co . says losses have peaked in its GE Capital lending unit and that the division should return to profit growth soon. GE Capital was the source of many of the company's problems last year, hit by the downturn in areas like credit cards, mortgages and commercial real estate.

Google's brand value of $114B tops global list

Google Inc . topped the 2010 BrandZ ranking of the 100 most valuable global brands by Millward Brown Optimor, with an estimated brand value of $114 billion. International Business Machines Corp . and Apple Inc . advanced to second and third place from fourth and sixth last year. Research In Motion Ltd .'s BlackBerry moved two spots to 14th place. Technology companies accounted for 6 of the top 10 brands. Apple, Hewlett-Packard Co ., Amazon .com Inc ., Verizon Communications Inc . and Baidu Inc . all gained more than 25 percent in brand value.