Virgin America tops in airline ranking
Virgin America did the best job for its customers among leading U.S. airlines last year, a report said Monday, as carriers overall had their second best performance in the more than the two decades since researchers began measuring quality of service.
The report ranked the 14 largest U.S. airlines based on on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, consumer complaints and passengers who bought tickets but were turned away because flights were overbooked.
The report was a broader measure than an earlier slice of its findings, about rate of customer complaints only, which was reported in Monday's Arizona Daily Star.
Overall airline performance in 2012 was the second highest in the 23 years that Wichita State University in Kansas and Purdue University in Indiana have tracked the performance of airlines. The airlines' best year was 2011.
United had the worst performance of the 14.
J.C. Penney replacing CEO Ron Johnson
NEW YORK - J.C. Penney is ousting CEO Ron Johnson. He's being replaced by former CEO Mike Ullman.
Ullman was head of the department store chain, based in Plano, Texas, before Johnson's appointment to the top spot in 2011 in an effort to halt the company's sliding earnings.
Johnson, a former Apple and Target executive, came under pressure after his turnaround strategy failed to win over shoppers. His drastic changes included slashing the number of sales in favor of everyday low prices, bringing in hipper designer brands such as Betsy Johnson and remaking outdated stores.
US Treasury chief urges EU to ease off austerity
BRUSSELS - European countries should ease off their austerity and adopt more growth-friendly policies, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Monday as he kicked off a series of meetings with the region's top leaders.
America's biggest trading partner and the world's largest economic bloc has entered the fourth year of a debt crisis, which has plunged many of the 27 EU nations into recession. The U.S. administration hopes Europe will relent in its focus on debt reduction, which has been hurting growth through spending cuts and tax increases.
Ex-prosecutor White confirmed as SEC chief
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate has confirmed Mary Jo White's nomination as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, making her the first former prosecutor to lead the federal agency that oversees Wall Street. White served as U.S. attorney in Manhattan from 1993 through 2002.
GE to pay $3.1 billion for oil-equipment maker
NEW YORK - General Electric Co. has agreed to buy oil field equipment maker Lufkin Industries Inc. for $3.1 billion, furthering an effort by GE to expand its oil and gas operations.
GE said Monday that it would pay Lufkin shareholders $88.50 per share, a 38 percent premium over Lufkin's closing price on Friday of $63.93. The companies valued the deal at $3.3 billion, which includes $200 million in debt to be assumed by GE.
Alcoa's 1Q profit rises
NEW YORK - Alcoa Inc. kicked off earnings season Monday by reporting a larger first-quarter profit than analysts expected, helped by strong demand for aluminum used to make airplanes and automobiles.
The company still sees demand for aluminum growing 7 percent in 2013, with gains cutting across many industries.
Alcoa is the first company in the Dow Jones industrial average to report first-quarter results. Because its products wind up in so many things, from cars and buildings to soda cans, investors study Alcoa's results for hints about earnings at companies in other industries.
Newspaper revenue fell 2 percent in 2012
The newspaper industry's revenue declined at its slowest pace in six years, as publishers turned to new businesses and raised more money from online subscriptions.
The industry's total revenue in 2012 fell 2 percent to $38.6 billion from $39.5 billion in 2011, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
Online subscriptions helped circulation revenue rise by 5 percent to $10.4 billion. It was the first gain since 2003.
Avon eliminating hundreds of jobs
Avon is eliminating more than 400 positions and abandoning or restructuring smaller or underperforming businesses in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, including an exit from Ireland.
The company said Monday that the job cuts, which equate to about 1 percent of Avon's 39,100 employees, will occur across all regions and segments. It is part of a turnaround plan under CEO Sheri McCoy.
The Associated Press