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briefs

4th-quarter earnings up at US banks

Profits at U.S. banks jumped almost 37 percent for the October-December period, reaching the highest level for a fourth quarter in six years as banks continued to step up lending.

The figures are fresh evidence of the industry’s sustained recovery more than four years after the financial crisis.

Banks earned $34.7 billion in the last three months of 2012, up from $25.4 billion a year ago and the highest for a fourth quarter since 2006, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported Tuesday. Sixty percent of banks reported improved earnings from the fourth quarter of 2011, the agency said.

The FDIC, created during the Great Depression to ensure bank deposits, monitors and examines the financial condition of U.S. banks.

Legislative update rescheduled in Warsaw

A legislative update meeting that the Government Issues Committee of the Warsaw Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce had scheduled for Friday at the KCH Health & Wellness Center has been rescheduled for March 22.

The meeting will be at the same location, the KCH Health & Wellness Center, 1500 Provident Drive, the Chamber said Tuesday. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast buffet.

A panel of state legislators will be present to answer questions. Legislators attending are State Sens. Carlin Yoder and Ryan Mishler and state Reps. Rebecca Kubacki and David Wolkins.

The event, sponsored by Kosciusko Community Hospital and AT&T, is open to the public and free. Reservations are requested by March 18. Register online at www.wkchamber.com, call 574-267-6311, or email info@wkchamber.com.

Home Depot results exceed expectations

Home Depot Inc., the largest U.S. home improvement retailer, said Tuesday its fiscal fourth-quarter net income surged 32 percent, beating expectations, helped by strong U.S. sales and the cleanup related to Superstorm Sandy.

The news follows smaller rival Lowe’s Cos. results Monday, which also beat expectations, and is the latest sign that Americans are feeling more comfortable spending money on their homes as the housing market slowly recovers.

Home Depot also said Tuesday that it will buy back $17 billion of its common stock and boosted its quarterly dividend by 34 percent.

For the period ended Feb. 3, Home Depot Inc. earned $1.02 billion, or 68 cents per share. That compares with $774 million, or 50 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected 64 cents per share.

Microsoft’s IE 10 to hit Windows 7 PCs

Microsoft is escalating its efforts to bring the latest version of Internet Explorer to more than 700 million personal computers in an attempt to re-establish the software maker’s browser as the best way to surf the Web.

Tuesday’s release of Internet Explorer 10 is aimed at PCs running on Windows 7, the most used version of Microsoft Corp.’s flagship operating system for PCs. A preview version of Internet Explorer 10 has been available for Windows 7 machines since mid-November. The final version of Internet Explorer 10 will be automatically sent to all Windows 7 computers set up to get updates.

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