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Briefs

Biomet’s quarterly loss rises

Biomet Inc. missed the mark by millions of dollars when it released its preliminary earnings estimate July 11.

The Warsaw-based orthopedic device-maker Thursday reported final quarterly and annual results that included a net loss of $623 million for the fiscal year ended May 31. That’s 63 percent more than the $382 million loss initially reported and 36 percent more than the $459 million loss reported for the preceding 12 months.

Special items totaled almost $1.23 billion during fiscal 2013, including a $567 million non-cash charged related to Biomet’s dental reconstructive and Europe reporting units. The new total is about $300 million more than estimated in the preliminary report.

Statements attributed to Jeffrey Binder, president and CEO, remained the same as they were seven weeks ago, however. He said opportunities for innovation and differentiation remain in the industry.

Judge likely to allow AMR bankruptcy exit

A federal judge signaled Thursday that he is leaning toward approving American Airlines’ emergence from bankruptcy protection but wanted more time to reflect.

“I’m finding the arguments in favor of confirmation fairly persuasive,” Judge Sean Lane said from the bench. He could sign off on American’s restructuring plan at the next hearing Sept. 12 or in a written decision prior.

Such a decision would only leave one obstacle – although a big one – to American’s proposed merger with US Airways: an antitrust lawsuit filed by the government earlier this month.

That suit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, six states and the District of Columbia argues that combining American and US Airways would leave four airlines controlling more than 80 percent of U.S. air traffic and drive up prices.

That case is at least two months away from being resolved, unless the airlines and government reach an out-of-court settlement first.

US banks earn record $42.2 billion in quarter

U.S. banks earned more from April through June than during any other quarter on record, aided by a steep drop in losses from bad loans.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said the banking industry earned $42.2 billion in the second quarter, up 23 percent from the second quarter of 2012. About 54 percent of U.S. banks reported improved earnings from a year earlier.

Banks’ losses on loans tumbled 30.7 percent from a year earlier to $14.2 billion, the lowest in six years. And bank lending increased 1 percent from the first quarter. Greater lending helps boost consumer and business spending, leading to more jobs and faster economic growth.

Still, the report shows that the largest banks continue to drive the industry’s profits while smaller institutions have struggled.

Jobless aid requests fall slightly to 331,000

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits remained near the lowest level in more than five years last week, a sign that companies are cutting few jobs.

First-time applications for benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 331,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, inched up 750 to 331,250 after falling to its lowest level since November 2007 the previous week.

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