Business news

Job openings decline for another month


WASHINGTON --- Employers posted almost 140,000 fewer jobs in December, the latest evidence that businesses are not ready to step up hiring.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised nearly 3.1 million jobs in December, the lowest total since September off the second consecutive monthly decline.

Analysts expect companies will start hiring again soon, noting that other data suggest the economy is improving.

Business travel seems to be bouncing back

NEW YORK --- U.S. companies are forecast to spend 5 percent more on travel in 2011 than they did last year -- a sign of confidence in the economy that is giving a boost to airlines, hotels and rental-car companies.

That's double the growth rate from 2010, which followed two years of decline.

Last year's bump in business travel -- companies spent an estimated $228 billion -- helped U.S. airlines post their first collective profit in three years.

Insider trading probe nets more charges

NEW YORK --- Federal authorities revealed charges Tuesday against three hedge fund portfolio managers and a hedge fund analyst, describing a paper-shredding, flash drive-destroying panic that ensued when they thought they faced the scrutiny of investigators.

The two new arrests and the announcement of two guilty pleas expanded a federal crackdown on insider trading that masks itself as legitimate market research.

The case raised the number charged in the probe to 12. The Securities and Exchange Commission said the conspiracy earned more than $30 million in illegal profits.

Quarry operator turns profit in final quarter

Martin Marietta Materials, which operates a quarry in Augusta, posted a fourth-quarter profit of $14.8 million, or 32 cents a share, improving from a loss of $3.2 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier, according to a report released Tuesday.

For the year, it had a profit of $97 million, or $2.11 per share.

Quarterly earnings up for Beasley Broadcast

Beasley Broadcast Group, which operates nine radio stations in Augusta, reported Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income was $3.3 million, or 15 cents per share, up from $1.4 million, or 6 cents per share, for the last quarter of 2009.

For 2010, the company showed a profit of $8 million, up from $3.4 million in 2009.

Beasley owns and operates 42 stations in 11 U.S. cities.