Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, January 21, 1999

IBM's net up 12%; beats expectations

ARMONK, N.Y. -- International Business Machines Corp., the world's largest computer maker, said fourth-quarter earnings rose a better-than-expected 12 percent on an increase in services revenue and mainframe sales.

Net income rose to $2.35 billion, or $2.47 a share, from $2.09 billion, or $2.11 a share, in the 1997 quarter, Bloomberg News reported.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based company was expected to earn $2.45 a share, the average estimate of analysts from First Call Corp.

Sales rose 5.9 percent to $25.1 billion from $23.7 billion.

30-year mortgages fall to 6.78 percent

WASHINGTON -- The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was 6.78 percent this week, down from 6.83 percent last week, Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported today.

Fifteen-year mortgages averaged 6.42 percent this week, down from 6.48 percent. On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 5.57 percent, down from 5.61 percent.

In other news . . .

Bullet HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Sears, Roebuck & Co. said fourth-quarter profit rose 12 percent despite declining apparel sales.

Profit rose to $572 million, or $1.48 a share, from $512 million, or $1.29, in the 1997 fourth quarter.

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