December 5, 2019

Home Prices Rise, Producing a Buying Mood

The latest sign emerged Tuesday as the Standard Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index posted the biggest gains in seven years. Housing prices rose in every one of the 20 cities tracked, continuing a trend that began three months ago. Similar strength has appeared in new and existing home sales and in building permits, as rising home prices are encouraging construction firms to accelerate building and hiring.

The broad-based housing improvements appear to be buoying consumer confidence and spending, countering fears earlier this year that many consumers would pull back in response to government austerity measures.

In January, the two-year-old payroll tax holiday ended, stripping about $700 from the average household’s annual income, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Federal government spending cuts that started in March are also serving as a drag on economic growth, economists say. And some recent data on other parts of the economy, like manufacturing and exports, have also disappointed.

Yet consumer confidence reached a five-year high in May, according to a Conference Board report also released on Tuesday, with big improvements in Americans’ views about both the current economy and future economic conditions. Consumer spending has also been strikingly resilient so far this year, given the tax hikes.

“Five years after the start of the financial crisis in earnest, and four years and a week’s time from the beginning of the economic recovery, we’re finally starting to get more of a pickup,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics. “It’s been a very drawn-out process, but you have to remember what we’ve been digging our way out of.”

The recent decline in gas prices is probably helping, as are increases in the stock market even though only about half of Americans own any equities. Perhaps most important, economists say, the growth in the value of the existing housing stock means that homeowners around the country are finally feeling richer, and that so-called wealth effect is probably making consumers loosen their purse strings a bit.

The positive impact of rising home values and the appreciating stock market is expected to offset at least a third of the fiscal tightening, according to Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomic Advisors.

The Case-Shiller 20-city composite index rose 10.9 percent over the last year, the biggest increase since April 2006. Several cities — Charlotte, N.C.; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Tampa, Fla. — had their largest month-over-month gains in more than seven years.

Stock markets rose on the news, with the S. P. 500-stock index up 10.46, or 0.63 percent, at 1,660.06 and the Dow up 106.29, or 0.69 percent, at 15,409.39 at the close on Tuesday. The Nasdaq was up 29.74, or 0.86 percent, at 3,488.89. The 10-year Treasury yield surged to 2.17 percent, its highest level in over a year.

The double-digit housing price increase is being driven by a confluence of factors.

For one, employers have added jobs for 31 straight months, so families are willing to start buying again. At the same time, the inventory of homes available on the market remains unusually low, thanks to little new building in the last few years and the large number of homeowners who are still underwater on their mortgages, making them reluctant to sell at a cash loss.

Now there are signs that higher prices are beginning to encourage some would-be sellers to come off the sidelines and place their homes on the market. That could be healthy for the market, countering concerns that housing might become overvalued again.

“You’ve had this dynamic that has been favorable for price increases now, but it’s also favorable for supply to come back on market, so that will mean some moderation in the pace of price increases,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, who said that he expected home prices to continue growing but not necessarily at the double-digit rate seen in May.

Construction has been picking up, too, in response to the rise in home prices, but builders cannot bring homes to the market as quickly as buyers want them.

Victoria Shannon contributed reporting.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/business/house-prices-show-largest-gain-in-years.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wholesale Prices Fall Again, While Inflation Remains Low

The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in April from March, the Labor Department said Wednesday. It was the second straight monthly decline and the steepest since February 2010.

Lower inflation means the Federal Reserve has more leeway to continue its aggressive policies to bolster economic growth. If there were signs that inflation was picking up, the Fed might be forced to raise interest rates.

The index declined largely because gas prices dropped 6 percent, and the price of home heating oil fell by the most in almost four years.

Food prices also fell 0.8 percent, the most since May 2011. Half of the decline was because of lower vegetable prices, a highly volatile category. Meat prices dropped 2.3 percent.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices ticked up 0.1 percent in April, from March. Pharmaceutical costs also rose 0.1 percent.

Prices for cars and pickup trucks, men’s clothing, tires and computers all declined.

Over all, wholesale prices have increased just 0.6 percent over the last 12 months. That is the smallest yearly gain since July and down from a 1.7 percent pace just two months ago.

Core prices have risen only 1.7 percent in the last 12 months and are just below the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target.

Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said wholesale prices may fall further as declining prices for many commodities work their way through the supply chain. Slowing manufacturing output could also weigh on prices.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/business/economy/wholesale-prices-fall-again-while-inflation-remains-low.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wal-Mart’s 3rd-Quarter Profit Slips

As several big chains reported third-quarter results on Tuesday, the divide between hard-pressed and prosperous Americans remained a defining characteristic of the retail economy.

“Clearly it’s a bifurcated market,” said Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and chief executive of Saks, in an interview. “The high-end consumer is much more tied to the stock market and the Dow and how they’re feeling about their personal situation, more so than the lower end of the market,” where concerns about gas prices and unemployment were more prevalent.

Over all, retail sales last month were higher than analysts had expected, rising 0.5 percent, according to the Commerce Department, contributing to the third-quarter results reported Tuesday. But Jay H. Bryson, an economist at Wells Fargo, predicted that the growth would soon slow as consumers stop using their savings, rather than their income, to pay for goods.

“Growth in nominal income is relatively weak,” Mr. Bryson wrote in a note to clients, and “the increase in food and energy prices over the past year has eroded consumer purchasing power.”

Wal-Mart, the country’s biggest retailer, said it had posted a quarterly increase in sales at stores open at least a year after nine consecutive quarters of declines in that important measure. But its third-quarter profit took a hit as the retailer chose not to pass on all of its price increases to consumers.

Company executives said they were not confident that Wal-Mart shoppers could afford more expensive goods.

“Our customers are still feeling pressured to reduce expenses wherever they can,” said William S. Simon, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart United States. “Cost increases in numerous categories were not passed on to our customers in the form of increased prices.”

At the other end of the retail spectrum, Saks said Tuesday that its revenue had risen 5 percent, to $692.3 million, from the same quarter a year ago. Its same-store sales, sales for stores open at least a year, rose 5.8 percent.

“Full-price selling is at record levels,” Mr. Sadove said. “We’re now in a less promotional environment than we were before the recession.”

At Saks, profit fell by 51 percent, to $17.8 million, in the quarter. But that was a tough comparison with the third quarter of 2010, when profit was pumped up by a gain related to tax reserves.

Some areas where Saks had placed big inventory bets, like shoes, turned out particularly well in the quarter, he said.

“If you look at it in the first half of the year, our same-store sales were up 13 percent,” Mr. Sadove said. “If you look at the third quarter, it was not quite as strong as you saw in the first half of the year. Maybe that was tempered by the stock market volatility. Having said that, you still had very strong consumption on the part of the luxury consumer — it wasn’t as though it was flailing about.”

Mr. Simon said Wal-Mart shoppers seemed especially worried about food prices — Wal-Mart’s food costs rose 4 percent over the last quarter, though it passed on “substantially less” to consumers via grocery prices.

“We hear from some shoppers that they believe it will be more difficult than ever to afford holiday meals for their families,” he said. “We understand their concern, and we see it every month in our customers’ purchasing behavior.”

In another sign of tight consumer budgets, Wal-Mart’s layaway program for holiday gifts, which it began offering in October after a hiatus of several years, has exceeded projections for the number of layaway transactions so far.

“This is one of the top areas that the customer had asked us to bring back to help meet their needs for the holiday season,” said Jeff Davis, senior vice president and treasurer, in a call with reporters. “What we have seen is, once again, this bevy of activity out there particularly in layaway and the traffic it brings to our stores.”

Wal-Mart said its domestic same-store sales increased by 1.3 percent, above its projections. That compared with a 1.3 percent decline in the same quarter a year ago.

However, profit fell 2.9 percent from a year ago to $3.3 billion, below analysts’ expectations.

Executives said that while visits to Wal-Mart’s stores in the United States fell from the same quarter a year ago, shoppers were spending more each visit. Net sales domestically increased 2.7 percent to $63.8 billion.

Home Depot executives said that although the housing market showed little buoyancy, its customers were spending a bit more on refurbishing their homes.

The average ticket, or amount on a receipt, grew 3 percent in the quarter from the same period in 2010, while transactions increased by 1.2 percent.

Part of that was related to the storms in recent months, with people buying expensive items like generators and roofing supplies. But they were also spending on areas like kitchens. “Our consumers continue to want to maintain their homes,” chief financial officer Carol B. Tomé said in an interview.

Home Depot posted a profit of 60 cents a share on Tuesday, beating analysts’ expectations of 58 to 59 cents a share. Its sales rose 4.4 percent to $17.3 billion, and it had a 4.2 percent increase in same-store sales.

Whether their consumers are feeling pressured or flush now, the retail executives indicated they did not expect things to change soon.

“In the U.S., we still do not see, and do not expect to see in the near term, any meaningful tailwind from the housing market,” said Frank Blake, Home Depot’s chairman and chief executive.

“I feel good about the luxury consumer,” Mr. Sadove of Saks said.

Referring to the Wal-Mart shopper’s dependence on paychecks and government-assistance payments rather than savings, Mr. Davis said that “going forward we really would not expect anything different.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=08958a1977f159bf24967880493c2f28

Wal-Mart Reports a Sales Increase in U.S. Stores

Sales at American stores open at least a year increased during the last three months, reversing a negative trend that began in 2009, the company announced on Wednesday. The uptick in same-store sales was a positive sign ahead of third-quarter earnings, which will be announced on Nov. 15.

“Three consecutive months of positive U.S. comps is a good way to be heading into the holiday season,” William S. Simon, president and chief executive for Wal-Mart’s United States division, said at the company’s annual meeting for investors at its headquarters in Arkansas.

Mr. Simon said one reason for the turnaround was the company’s decision to restock more than 10,000 items that had been removed as part of an effort to clean up the stores and make them less cluttered. He said customers were shopping less because they didn’t see the items they wanted.

“We never lost customers,” he said. “What we lost was trips of current customers.”

In addition, Mr. Simon said lower gas prices probably helped bring customers to the stores more often.

The resilience of Wal-Mart’s turnaround will be put to the test during the holiday season, which tends to account for a fifth of retailers’ sales for the year. Wal-Mart officials said they would double the amount they were spending on television advertising during the holiday season, compared to last year.

The first holiday ads should appear in the next few weeks. They will promote Wal-Mart’s layaway program, which it scrapped in 2006 but decided to start again because of demand from consumers.

Shares of Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest discount retailer, increased 48 cents and closed at $55.20 on Wednesday.

While sluggish sales in the United States have partly been offset by more robust results at the company’s Sam’s Club stores, and its Wal-Mart stores overseas, several analysts said the positive turn in the company’s United States business was significant given how long the business had struggled — nine straight quarters of negative same-store sales.

“Heading into today’s event, that is one of the big hurdles people want to hear,” said Joseph Feldman, of Telsey Advisory Group. “The good news is they sounded positive, just in general.”

David A. Schick, of Stifel Nicolaus, said Wal-Mart finally seemed to be recovering from an abrupt change in its strategy of offering fewer products and more upscale items. When the company decided to drop that strategy last summer amid lackluster results, he said it was like “turning the battleship.”

“This is a company that reversed course and felt that friction and pain throughout the model,” he said. “There’s been enough time where that friction is lessening.”

Besides adding items back to its stores, Wal-Mart also decided to focus on more basic apparel, Mr. Schick said. “A return to basics is the primary focus,” he said.

Wal-Mart officials said Wednesday that they planned to decrease capital expenditures in the 2013 fiscal year by 7 percent from the 2012 fiscal year. Even so, because of reductions in remodeling and construction costs, the retail chain plans to build as many as 250 stores in the United States in 2013, compared to 160 in 2012.

Among the new stores planned for 2013, roughly 100 will be smaller-format neighborhood markets and express stores.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=47cdfc3b206b3d4e15ab35b918dbb3f7

You’re the Boss: Father’s Day and the Vacation Dilemma

Thinking Entrepreneur

A widely quoted recent study done by American Express says that only 46 percent of business owners are planning to take a vacation this year — down from 67 percent in 2006. Given the economy, gas prices and rising airfares, this probably will surprise few business owners. For entrepreneurs, the decision of whether to take a vacation can be complicated and gut-wrenching.

People offer many reasons for going into business for themselves. One of the more common ones you hear is, “Being able to come and go as I please.” Some experienced owners will find that both funny and sad — and more than a little ironic. Many people who go into business to find freedom end up a slave to the business, at least for a while. Maybe a long while. Maybe forever. For these people, the notion of taking a vacation is completely foreign — either because of money constraints or because they don’t have someone to run the business or because they suffer from a combination of fear, anxiety, guilt and obsessiveness. Maybe it is just me, but I doubt it.

As I’ve said many times, running your own business is very different than having a job. No one awards you a two- or three-week vacation. If you take one, there may or may not be someone to cover for you, and if there isn’t, it is your problem. And there’s something else that doesn’t come automatically, a thing called a weekly paycheck. Maybe you can take one, maybe you can’t. Maybe there’s a weekly loss. Which is another reason not to take a vacation and gets me to the intersection of Father’s Day and summer vacations. As I have gotten older, I have changed my view of taking vacations.

For me, Father’s Day is a time of reflection. My father has been gone for several years now, and it has given me a different perspective. I can more clearly relate to my father than I used to, but at the same time, my thoughts on my son-father relationship have slowly been overshadowed by my thoughts on my father-son relationships — I have three sons. The youngest is a senior in college, and I can’t help but wonder whether I spent enough time playing father as I did playing entrepreneur. This is, of course, an important part of the vacation dilemma.

Vacation or no vacation, that is the question. I have three different answers, depending on your situation. First of all, kids grow up quick. You may have a window of 10 or 12 years between the time they will remember a vacation and the time they start to question whether they want to go on a vacation with you. I know. It’s cold. But come 18, they are perfectly happy going without you. So my first answer is that if you can both afford the time and money to take a vacation, you really don’t need any advice from me. Bon voyage.

The second scenario is a little harder. You are short of cash, or you don’t have the staff to cover for you. Your business is still in a precarious situation, and you are feverishly working on getting to that next level (which may include getting your life back). It might be a couple of years, or it might be more. One of your non-business-owning friends might suggest that you should just do it, that you worry too much. Maybe this friend will lend you the money along with the advice. Probably not. Putting off taking vacations can be one of the prices you pay for starting your own business. It is hard to relax when you are not paying your bills and you are concerned with taking care of your hard-to-come-by customers. I had more than a few of these years.

My third scenario is hardest of all. You think that you shouldn’t take a vacation even though you can probably afford it. No, you are not rolling in cash but a couple of thousand dollars is not going to cause you to be late on bills or force you into bankruptcy. Your business can run while you are not there. You have a cellphone for any questions, even if they are not an emergency. But you are still hesitant — like a mother leaving her new baby. But in this case your business is not your only baby. Those kids you had a few years back — remember them? They won’t be kids forever. Next thing you know, if all goes well, you will be dropping them off at college. You will probably be sick to your stomach. On your ride home you might wonder if you were home enough, if you took enough vacations, if your kid’s roommate is a drug dealer.

So here is my entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur advice: If you can take a vacation, take a vacation. There is always more you can do at work, there is always something more you can spend money on — excuse me, I mean invest in. There is always some paranoia about what might happen when you are not there. You are not alone. It is an occupational hazard. But the place will be there when you return. And a vacation will do you good. Besides, your employees can probably use a break from you, too.

Here is the bottom line: the bottom line of your business is not the bottom line of your life.

Happy Father’s Day.

Jay Goltz owns five small businesses in Chicago.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=5a2100fe1055fec48fa97cbaded2cbf7

The U.S. Issue: Practical Traveler: 13 Ways to Save on Gas this Summer

The price of gas on average in the United States was $3.96 earlier this month, up from $2.91 a gallon last summer, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. And prices have been topping $4 at some service stations in California, Connecticut, Illinois and New York.

But don’t tell the kids it’s going to be another staycation summer just yet. While the price of gas in the United States is still more than a dollar higher than the same time last year, analysts say gas prices may have hit their peak and are expected to drop, offering drivers some relief. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to keep your fuel bill in check, from choosing the right destination (see our 50 round-trip getaways you can take on one tank of gas at nytimes.com/travel) to downloading the right app. Below, 13 tips for cutting the cost of that summer road trip.

GET A GAS APP There are dozens of apps that help users find cheap gas while on the road. GasBuddy.com, offers one of the more comprehensive for iPhone and Android users, with a clean design and estimated drive times to gas stations in your vicinity. Just tap “Find Gas Near Me” or search by city or ZIP code for a list of gas stations sorted by price. You can click Midgrade, Premium or Diesel for those prices. Selecting Map View displays the stations on a map. Another option is AAA’s free TripTik Mobile app for the iPhone, which allows users to search prices for their preferred grade of gasoline.

LET THE HOTEL COVER THE GAS To avoid a repeat of 2008, when the soaring price of gas made “staycation” a household term, destinations that rely primarily on drivers are rolling out gas-related incentives. San Luis Obispo, a coastal resort town halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is promoting car-free vacations with 20 percent Amtrak discounts and hotel bargains of up to 30 percent off. And many hotel chains, from Sky Hotels Resorts in Orlando to Personality Hotels in San Francisco, are offering gas cards or rebates from $10 to $50, depending on the package and length of stay.

STAY OUT OF TRAFFIC Google Maps, which comes preinstalled on many smartphones or is available for download, offers an at-a-glance display of road conditions in major cities to help you find the best route around congestion so you don’t burn up extra fuel in stop-and-go traffic. Color-coded lines correspond to the intensity of traffic: green for no traffic jams, yellow for medium congestion, red for heavy congestion, and red-and-black for stop-and-go. Google Maps Navigation, offered through Google Maps for Android, has recently been updated to offer alternate routes to avoid tie-ups.

PAY LESS FOR YOUR RENTAL CAR A cheaper rental will help offset the cost of gas. Check out the booking site Autoslash.com, which searches the Web for discount coupons on car rentals and applies them after you book. It then continually checks for lower rates and coupons up until your trip date, and automatically applies any discounts it finds. Willing to gamble? Consider Web sites like Priceline.com and Hotwire.com, which offer deep discounts to travelers willing to be locked into a preset price before learning what company they’ll be renting from.

RESHUFFLE YOUR CREDIT CARDS Consider a credit card that offers cash back for gas purchases. Discover’s Open Road card, for example, offers 2 percent back on the first $250 in combined gas and restaurant purchases each billing period, and Capital One’s No Hassle Cash Rewards card offers 2 percent cash back on purchases at gas stations and major grocery stores.

LOSE THE GOLF CLUBS An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mileage by up to 2 percent, according to an Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency Web site, Fueleconomy.gov. And keep luggage inside the vehicle rather than strapped to the roof, to reduce aerodynamic drag.

FILL IT UP WITH REGULAR Most vehicles that call for premium fuel (which was $4.23 on average earlier this month, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, up from $3.20 a year ago) can run on regular just fine, according to Cars.com, an online car shopping site. “Technically, this makes the car less efficient, but not to a degree that negates the cost savings from the cheaper fuel grade,” states the site under Tips for Saving Fuel. However, some cars do require premium fuel, so before you fill up, check your owner’s manual to find out if the higher-priced gas is required or just recommended.

USE THE RIGHT OIL You can boost your gas mileage by 1 or 2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil, according to Fueleconomy.gov. Look for oil that says “energy conserving” or “resource conserving” on the A.P.I. performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives that form films to reduce the friction of moving engine parts and to help improve fuel economy.

SKIP THE TOLL-BOOTH LINE On road trips in the Northeast, a monthly E-ZPass subscription will keep you out of long lines, saving you idling time and gas. The electronic toll-collection system is offered on most toll roads, bridges and tunnels across 14 states from Maine to Virginia and west to Illinois. SunPass is the equivalent in Florida; FasTrak is in the San Francisco Bay Area.

CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by simply keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, according to Fueleconomy.gov. Underinflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every pound-per-square-inch drop in pressure of all four tires. (You can get a tire-pressure gauge at any hardware store or auto store for about $10.) Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or the door jamb for the proper level of inflation (not the tire itself, which shows the maximum tire inflation pressure), and be sure to check the tire pressure when the tires are cold, as internal pressure increases when the car has been on the road for a while and the tires heat up.

SLOW DOWN Gas mileage typically decreases at speeds above 60 miles per hour, according to Fueleconomy.gov. “You can assume that each 5 m.p.h. you drive over 60 m.p.h. is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas,” the site states.

TAKE THE BUS Cheap express buses with names like BoltBus, Megabus and Vamoose have become popular along the Northeast Corridor and elsewhere, with amenities like free Wi-Fi and power and seats for $30 or less, depending on when you reserve — which can be less than what you might pay in gas if you drive yourself. Search for seats at GotoBus.com or at BusJunction.com.

USE PEDAL POWER You don’t need four wheels to get a taste of the open road. Two will do just fine. The nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association offers tools to help cyclists plan, including more than 40,000 miles of cycling routes throughout North America, with elevation profiles, turn-by-turn directions and symbols that mark bike shops, lodging and other services. Twenty-two long-distance routes, which are broken into shorter sections of about 350 miles long, are available for $14.75 each or $11.75 for those who pay a $40 membership fee.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=2deb6971b6d54b6088682c278feaa4f1

After Quake, Toyota’s Profit Plummets 77%

Still, the automaker said it could not forecast earnings or production for the year ahead because of uncertainty about its ability to resume normal output levels.

Toyota said the disaster in Japan cut operating income by 110 billion yen ($1.36 billion) even though it occurred only three weeks before the end of the quarter.

The strong yen also hurt earnings in the period, when net income was 25.4 billion yen ($314 million ), down from 112.2 billion yen a year earlier.

Toyota’s operating profit declined 52 percent, to 46.1 billion yen ($571.5 million), less than half the 96.1 billion yen ($1.2 billion) that analysts had projected. Sales in the quarter fell 12 percent, to 4.6 trillion yen ($57 billion).

Results in the current quarter — the first period of its fiscal year, which started April 1 — are expected to take a much bigger hit because of the earthquake. Toyota is almost certain to lose its title as the world’s largest automaker this year, perhaps falling to third place behind General Motors and Volkswagen.

“With gas prices as high as they are — almost $4 per gallon — Toyota should be in a prime spot to win market share, but the supply simply isn’t there,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis at Edmunds.com, a car-buying information site. “Toyota shoppers are starting to expand their consideration to other brands.”

Toyota said its production, which has been running at about 50 percent of normal globally and 30 percent in North America, would begin recovering in June across all regions of the world. Previously, it had said output would start to normalize in July in Japan and in August elsewhere.

It said production would continue to follow the schedule announced last month through June 3, then rise to about 70 percent of normal in June. It did not say whether plants would return to predisaster levels sooner than the November-to-December estimate given earlier.

The company said it hoped to release a sales and earnings forecast by the middle of June.

Toyota officials in the United States said North American output would climb to 70 percent of normal in June, and that production of eight models, including the popular Camry and Corolla sedans, would return to 100 percent at that time. It did not say when assembly of three models built in North America — the RAV4 and Lexus RX crossover vehicles and Tundra pickup truck — would return to normal levels.

In a statement, Toyota said it was “carefully monitoring the situation in each region and for each vehicle model and is every day working its hardest to identify every way to restore production as much as possible” but that in the meantime, “reduced production levels may have a significant impact” on its financial results.

For the full fiscal year ended March 31, Toyota’s net profit grew 94 percent, to 408.1 billion yen ($5.1 billion), and operating income more than tripled, to 468.2 billion yen ($5.79 billion). Revenue rose 0.2 percent, to 19 trillion yen ($235 billion).

“Our business environment continued to be challenging due to yen appreciation among others,” Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, said in a conference call with analysts. “Nevertheless, we managed to improve our profit structure even further thanks to the support from all our stakeholders, in particular our customers.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=59986c5f8fbf83f42f40b3258005dc22