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BUSINESS DIGEST

The Baltimore Sun

Service sector shrinks for 4th straight month

WASHINGTON: The nation's service sector shrank for the fourth straight month in January, a trade group said yesterday, but at a slower pace than in the previous month. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade association of purchasing executives, said its service sector index rose to 42.9 last month, from December's downwardly revised reading of 40.1. The January reading was above analysts' expectations of 39, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. A reading above 50 signals growth, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Associated Press

Time Warner write-down brings $16 billion loss

LOS ANGELES: Media and entertainment giant Time Warner Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss, hurt by an expected $24.2 billion write-down for its cable, publishing and AOL assets. The company predicted flat earnings in the year ahead as it takes on major restructuring charges amid a declining advertising market. Its cable unit said it plans to cut 1,250 jobs, or about 2.6 percent of the unit's work force. The New York-based company, which owns Time magazine, cable networks CNN and HBO and the Warner Bros. movie studio, posted a loss of $16.03 billion, or $4.47 per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compared with a profit of $1.03 billion, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.

Associated Press

Bank of America says it is selling 3 jets, copter

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Bank of America Corp. said yesterday that it is selling nearly half of its corporate aircraft as the bank looks to scale back costs. The Charlotte-based bank joins Citigroup Inc. and other companies in cutting back private jet travel. Many financial firms are giving up the perk as scrutiny mounts over lavish spending after the companies received billions in rescue funds. Since October, Bank of America has received $45 billion in government assistance, including a $20 billion injection last month to help with its troubled Merrill Lynch & Co. acquisition. Federal Aviation Administration records from last year show Bank of America is the owner of nine planes, including four Gulfstreams.

Associated Press

Bloomberg Television cuts about 100 jobs

NEW YORK : Bloomberg LP said yesterday that it would cut about 100 jobs in the United States and possibly others in Europe and Japan as part of a restructuring meant to prop up its broadcast operations. These are the first layoffs for the financial information company started in 1981 by billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg, now New York's mayor. The company said it was reorganizing its operations to become a global, around-the-clock business network, and the cuts are needed to position the Bloomberg Television network for growth and allow for programming changes. Bloomberg Television is a 24-hour business and financial service broadcasting in seven languages to more than 200 million homes.

Associated Press

Clorox to cut 170 jobs, says 2Q profit fell 7%

NEW YORK: Consumer products maker Clorox Co. said yesterday that fiscal second-quarter earnings fell 7 percent as retailers cut inventory, consumers spent less and a stronger dollar made the company's products more expensive for overseas customers. Clorox lowered its fiscal 2009 sales outlook and said it would cut about 170 jobs over the next 18 months. Clorox also indicated that recent price increases would stick as the company tries to cut costs and boost margins.

Associated Press

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