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Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

April 24, 2014, 1:57 PM

Thursday Afternoon Business Brief

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are mixed in afternoon trading on Wall Street. The major indexes have been moving between modest gains and losses today as investors look over mixed earnings news from a large number of U.S. companies. Traders are also keeping a close watch on escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

  • American Airlines is making money again after its merger with US Airways. The company beat expectations with earnings of $480 million, a record for the first quarter, which is usually the weakest period for airlines. Southwest Airlines is also reporting record quarterly profits, following a rousing report from Delta Air Lines yesterday. But United Airlines lost $609 million during the first three months of the year. The No. 2 airline company behind American is struggling to make the 2010 merger of United and Continental work.
     
  • A survey by the travel website Orbitz finds 88 percent of Americans plan to take vacations this year. Orbitz bookings show the Mexican resort of Cancun as the top destination, but most of the other hot spots for fun-seekers are in the U.S., with Las Vegas, Orlando, Seattle and Los Angeles rounding out the top five. Average airfares are up about six percent from a year ago.
     
  • The on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft is launching service in 24 new U.S. markets. The San Francisco-based startup says it is now available in 60 U.S. cities, up from just one - San Francisco - at the beginning of 2013. Its rival Uber expanded to Beijing earlier this week and is now available in 100 cities worldwide.
     
  • Postal workers are protesting the opening of postal counters in Staples stores that are staffed with retail employees. Protests are planned at 50 locations in 27 states today. More than 200 people gathered at a Staples in Washington, D.C., drumming on buckets and holding signs that read: "Stop Staples. The US Mail is Not for Sale."

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