Business news

Google profits soar under new leadership


Google Inc. ushered in new CEO Larry Page with second-quarter earnings that were far better than analysts expected.

Results released Thursday reassured investors who had been fretting about whether Google would still thrive under the leadership of the company co-founder, who replaced Eric Schmidt at the start of the quarter.

Google Inc. earned $2.5 billion, or $7.68 per share, in the April-June period. That's a 36 percent increase from $1.84 billion, or $5.71 per share, a year ago.

Fewer unemployment applications filed

WASHINGTON --- Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, an encouraging sign the job market may be slowly improving.

Weekly applications dropped 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 405,000, the Labor Department said, to the lowest level in almost three months.

Even with last week's decline, applications have now topped 400,000 for 14 weeks, evidence that the job market has weakened since earlier this year.

June retail sales rise after decline in May

WASHINGTON --- Consumers spent more on cars and in big chain stores in June but falling gas prices held back retail sales.

Retail sales rose 0.1 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That follows a 0.1 percent decrease in May, which was the first decline after 10 straight gains.

When excluding autos, retail sales were flat in June. A rebound from spring supply disruptions caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami helped pushed auto sales up 0.8 percent.

Sales at general merchandise stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target, rose 0.4 percent.