NEW YORK, May 4- Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, posted better-than-expected first-quarter profit, driven by strong growth in its high-speed internet and business services. Comcast, which increased its stock buyback program to $10 billion last quarter, said it would now earmark $6.75 billion for 2015, higher than the $4.25 billion it had...» Read More
But government attorneys claim Hobby Lobby cannot claim to exercise religion to avoid laws designed to regulate commercial activity. "Hobby Lobby is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion," the government said.
SALT LAKE CITY-- Shares of Fusion-io Inc., a provider of data center technology, tumbled in after-hours trading Wednesday after it said earnings fell 45 percent in its fiscal first quarter, and it offered a weak outlook for the current quarter.
CALABASAS HILLS, Calif.-- The Cheesecake Factory reported a 32 percent rise in quarterly earnings Wednesday as more customers showed up to eat at its restaurants. Net income for the third quarter was $27.2 million, or 49 cents per share. Comparable sales at Cheesecake Factory restaurants rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier.
Oct 24- AT&T Inc added fewer customers than expected in the third quarter due to a shortage of the latest Apple Inc iPhone, highlighting its outsize dependence on the device. Since most people already have cellphones, operators like AT&T and Verizon have to battle each other to add new customers.
LONDON, Oct 24- Incoming New York Times chief Mark Thompson said on Wednesday his U.S. employer had given him full support since a sexual abuse scandal erupted at Britain's BBC where he had been in charge until last month.
WASHINGTON, Oct 24- New U.S. single-family home sales surged in September to the highest level in nearly 2-1/ 2 years, further evidence the housing market recovery is gaining steam.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn.-- Tractor Supply Co. said Wednesday that third-quarter profit rose 17 percent on strong sales of pet- and animal-related merchandise at its farm stores. Tractor Supply said it expected to earn between $3.63 and $3.69 per share this year, compared with a previous prediction of $3.58 to $3.66 per share.
Crude oil stocks in the United States jumped 5.9 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a weekly report, well above the increase of 1.9 million barrels in a Reuters survey of analysts.
LONDON, Oct 24- Copper closed near six-week lows on Wednesday as the dollar rose and investor sentiment soured on weak euro zone data, but signs of recovery in top metals consumer China limited losses.
Oct 24- The U.S. Department of Interior granted a lease for an offshore wind farm off the coast of Delaware to a unit of U.S. power company NRG Energy, which decided in December to put the project on hold due to financial considerations.
*Boeing climbs after earnings, outlook. NEW YORK, Oct 24- U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, supported by a slight pickup in manufacturing and a surge in new home sales, while Boeing gave the Dow a boost after raising its full-year forecast.
GENK, Belgium/ MADRID, Oct 24- Ford Motor Co will close a Belgian factory employing more than 4,000 workers, shifting production to Spain as the U.S. automaker scrambles to cut costs and stem European losses. Ford said it would shut its Genk plant in eastern Belgium, with the loss of about 4,300 jobs by the end of 2014, transferring the work to a plant in Valencia.
NEW YORK-- Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market:. Corning Inc., down $1.26 at $12.15. Lorillard Inc., down $4.08 at $111.70.
NEW YORK-- Best Buy says two executives, including its U.S. president, are leaving the company as it eliminates the most senior level of its U.S. operations to become more streamlined. Best Buy is facing increasing competition from online retailers and discounters. Mike Vitelli, president of Best Buy's U.S. business, will resign when the fiscal year ends Feb. 3.
NEW YORK-- Whiting Petroleum Corp. said Wednesday that it posted a profit in the third quarter as production rose 17 percent, while prices for oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids fell. In the quarter that ended Sept. 30, Whiting reported net income of $82.9 million, or 70 cents per share.
COMING TAX CHANGES: A generous estate-tax exemption window is scheduled to close Dec. 31. Currently, you can give up to $5.12 million without incurring federal estate or gift taxes. Those exemptions drop to $1 million unless Congress acts, subjecting more than just the ultra-rich to big tax bites.
CHICAGO-- Taxes that are largely a concern of the very rich will soon affect far more people unless Congress steps in. Financial advisers, and trust and estate attorneys have been flooded with requests for assistance in the final months before the record-high exemption for both taxes is scheduled to plunge to $1 million from $5.12 million on Jan 1.
*Preliminary hearing in High Court on Monday. LONDON, Oct 24- Barclays will on Monday face the first claim for damages stemming from manipulation of the Libor interest rate in a landmark case before Britain's High Court that could have major implications for all UK banks.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-- Online content-delivery company Akamai Technologies Inc. said Wednesday that its third-quarter earnings rose 14 percent from a year ago as revenue grew. Net income in the three months to Sept. 30 rose to $48.2 million, or 27 cents per share, from $42.3 million, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.
*First court verdict to thwart Gazprom's take-or-pay claim. *Gazprom paid $2.5 bln to European firms as part of pricing deal. PRAGUE/ MOSCOW, Oct 24- RWE Transgas, the Czech unit of Germany's RWE, has won a landmark dispute with Gazprom over gas contracts, after a court ruled for the first time that a company did not have to pay fines under a ``take-or-pay'' clause.