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Apple earnings, dividends rise

Apple reported its fiscal second-quarter results Tuesday, and the world's most-valuable company gave its shareholders a lot to smile about.

Apple lived up to its word that it would repatriate more of its overseas cash. It said the ability to have more flexible access to such funds would help it start a new, $100 billion stock-repurchasing plan when it completes its current buyback plan during its fiscal third quarter.

Apple also said it will raise its quarterly stock dividend payment by 16 percent, to 73 cents a share.

Led by what Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook called "strong revenue growth in iPhone, services and wearables," the company reported a profit of $2.73 a share, on $61.1 billion in revenue.

Those results topped the estimates of Wall Street analysts, who had forecast Apple to earn $2.68 a share, on sales of $60.84 billion.

 

VW pays $2.6M in West Virginia lawsuit

West Virginia has reached a $2.65 million settlement with Volkswagen AG and two of its affiliates in a lawsuit over the automaker's emissions-rigging scandal, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Tuesday.

German automaker Volkswagen admitted rigging diesel emissions technology to pass U.S. smog tests. The lawsuit alleged the scheme led to false advertising because the self-described "clean diesel" engines actually emitted up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide.

Volkswagen admitted it knowingly defeated the EPA's testing routine for seven years before being caught by the International Council on Clean Transportation, which hired West Virginia University researchers to test a VW on real roads.

Under the settlement, the automakers agreed to refrain from unfair and deceptive practices in future dealings with West Virginia consumers. Morrisey said the settlement saved the state more than $500,000 in legal fees and likely exceeded the payout it would have received in multistate litigation.

Volkswagen previously agreed to at least $16 billion in civil settlements with environmental authorities and car owners in the United States, and to a $4.3 billion penalty to settle a U.S. criminal investigation.

 

Aetna profits up more than expected

Aetna made $1.21 billion and beat Wall Street earnings expectations in the first quarter, as the health insurer moved closer to sealing its roughly $69 billion combination with CVS Health.

The nation's third largest insurer said Tuesday it swung to a profit after booking a loss in the first three months of 2017 because of costs from another deal, its failed bid to acquire rival Humana. Several months after regulators rejected that combination, CVS Health said it would buy Aetna.

Shareholders of both companies approved that deal earlier this year, and company leaders expect it to close in the second half of 2018. But it still needs government approval.

In the first quarter, Aetna booked earnings of $3.19 per share when adjusted for non-recurring gains. Revenue excluding investment gains and interest income slipped 2 percent to $15.22 billion, mainly due to the sale of some businesses in last year's fourth quarter.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of $2.97 per share on $15.32 billion in revenue, according to Zacks Investment Research.

 

Amazon to add 2,000 Boston jobs

Amazon unveiled plans Tuesday for a major expansion in Boston's Seaport District, promising 2,000 new technology jobs even as the city remains in contention for the company's coveted second headquarters.

Seattle-based Amazon announced it would move into a 430,000-square-foot "Tech Hub" in 2021, and said the new jobs would be created in fields including machine learning, speech science, cloud computing and robotics.

The company currently has about 1,200 workers in the city. In 2016, the company opened a fulfillment center in Fall River, Massachusetts, that employs more than 1,000 workers.

 

Goldman to pay fine of $110 million

Goldman Sachs Group has agreed to pay over $110 million to settle allegations its foreign exchange traders engaged in improper conduct.

Officials said Goldman traders participated in chat rooms, sometimes using code names, to discreetly share confidential customer information with other global bank traders to affect foreign exchange prices. They said the unlawful conduct happened from 2008 to early 2013.

The firm must pay roughly $55 million each to the New York State Department of Financial Services and the Federal Reserve Board.

As part of the settlement announced Tuesday, Goldman must provide regulators with enhanced written internal controls and an acceptable compliance program.

Goldman Sachs said it's pleased the matter is resolved. The bank said it has already taken significant steps to enhance its policies and procedures.

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