Business

Business briefs, April 27, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple says quarterly revenue fell for the first time in more than a decade, as iPhone sales slipped. That's putting more pressure on the world's most valuable public company to come up with its next big product.

Apple sold more than 51.2 million iPhones in the first three months of 2016 -- while racking up $10.5 billion in quarterly profit. That was more than many analysts expected, but still fewer than the 61 million iPhones sold a year earlier.

The company is battling perceptions that its latest iPhones aren't dramatically different from previous models, as overall smartphone sales are slowing around the world.

Goodwill Manasota plans Mother's Day contest

Starting May 1 and running through May 6, Goodwill Manasota is accepting nominations for its Mother's Day Makeover Contest. Winners receive an image consultation, makeover and clothes and accessories from Goodwill. Nuovo Salons & Spas will donate hair and makeup services. Sharon Stewart, Image Consultant at First Impressions Image Consulting in Bradenton will create a new look for the winner and is also donating $100 worth of Goodwill clothes and accessories.

Community members are asked to go to the Goodwill website, experiencegoodwill.org, and nominate mothers to win. Nominators must include contact information for the nominee as well as a brief explanation of why their nominee should win.

"So many moms don't get the recognition they deserve for their contributions to their households and our community," said Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller in a release. "Mothers are everyday heroes and, while we should be celebrating them every day, Mother's Day offers an opportunity to express special thanks."

The winner will be named and notified on May 7 in advance of Mother's Day.

Twitter reports dismal user figures; stock prices fall

NEW YORK -- Twitter gets lots of grief from investors because it hasn't taken over the world the way Facebook did in terms of amassing users.

Things got worse on Tuesday, when Twitter reported dismal user figures -- 310 million, up from 305 million a year ago but down from 320 million in the fourth quarter. That makes it about one-fifth Facebook's size.

While Twitter's per-share earnings beat Wall Street's expectations, revenue fell short. And Twitter's already-clobbered stock fell in after-hours trading.

Exxon loses pristine 'AAA' rating from S&P

NEW YORK -- Low oil prices have helped cost Exxon its pristine "AAA" credit rating from Standard & Poor's, a label it held for over six decades.

The top "AAA" credit

rating from S&P means a company's debt is the safest possible investment. Now only two other U.S. corporations are rated triple-A by S&P: consumer and medical products company Johnson & Johnson and technology company Microsoft Corp.

S&P said Tuesday that it lowered Exxon's rating one notch to "AA+" because of slumping oil prices and the "large dividend payments" the oil giant makes to shareholders. The credit-rating agency said Exxon is more likely to pay dividends than save money or reduce its debt. Exxon had held the "AAA" rating since at least 1949, S&P said.

Chipotle posts quarterly loss after food scares

NEW YORK -- Chipotle posted its first quarterly loss as a public company following a series of food scares.

The Mexican food chain said sales fell 29.7 percent at established locations during the first three months of the year. Chipotle is trying to bounce back after an E. Coli outbreak and norovirus cases that have sent sales plunging.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. lost $26.4 million, or 88 cents per share, for the quarter. Revenue fell to $834.5 million. Wall Street expected sales of $867.8 million. Both measures fell short of analyst expectations.

-- Herald staff, wire reports

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