Business Briefs: Matthews International misses income estimates

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Matthews International misses income estimates

Northshore-based Matthews International reported net income for first fiscal quarter of $8.3 million or $0.30 a share, compared with $11.4 million or $0.40 a share for the same quarter last year. Analysts had estimated the company would earn $0.43 a share. Sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 were $225.6 million compared to sales of $217 million for the first fiscal quarter last year.

Subway 'crisis': Is footlong sub really 11 inches?

Give an inch and take a mile of bad publicity. Subway is facing criticism after an Australian man posted a picture on the company's Facebook page of one of its famous footlong sandwiches next to a tape measure that seems to show the sandwich is just 11 inches. A spokesman for Subway, which is based in Milford, Conn., said the length of its sandwiches may vary when its bread, which is baked at each Subway location, is not made to the chain's specifications.

2012 home construction was highest in 4 years

U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace in 4 1/2 years and finished 2012 as their best year for residential construction since the early stages of the housing crisis. The Commerce Department said Thursday that builders broke ground on houses and apartments last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000. That's 12.1 percent higher than November's annual rate. And it is nearly double the recession low reached in April 2009. For the year, builders started work on 780,000 homes. That's still roughly half of the annual number of starts consistent with healthier markets. But it is an increase of 28.1 percent from 2011.

Rate on 30-year mortgage dips to 3.38 percent

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.38 percent. That's down from 3.40 percent last week. And it's slightly above the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 2.66 percent. The record low is 2.63 percent.

Jobless aid applications fall to 5-year low

Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest level since January 2008, just after the recession began. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 359,250.

American Airlines unveils new logo, new look

American Airlines is getting a new look. The airline showed off the first plane bearing a new logo and paint job at Dallas--Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday. The familiar red, white and blue stripes along the side of the fuselage are gone, replaced by a new logo and "American" in large letters on the silver body. Red and blue horizontal bars are emblazoned on the tail. Under pressure from creditors, AMR is studying whether to embrace a merger with US Airways or remain on its own. A decision is expected soon.

Also in business...

General Motors says it will invest $1.5 billion in its North American factories this year. The company says specific plants and job numbers will come later.

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