Business News You Need Today: Aug. 12, 2010

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Here's news from the business world and other money matters to watch out for Thursday (last updated at 7:38 a.m. Eastern time):

GM Earnings Top Expectations: General Motors reported net earnings of $1.3 billion in the second quarter on revenue of $33.2 billion. On a per-share basis, the Detroit auto giant said it earned $2.55, in the three months ending June, while operating revenue clocked in at $2 billion. The company plans to hold a conference call later Thursday to discuss the results. Investors and the media will be keen to hear any news about GM's planned initial public offering, the date of which has yet to be determined. Reports surfaced Wednesday that a stock offering could happen as soon as Friday.

3-D TVs Set For Growth: Once reserved for movie screens, 3-D technology in recent years has become a much sought after amenity in home television sets. Current-year 3-D-capable TV shipments are expected to reach some 4 million units, or about one of every 20 flat-screen TVs sold. Next year, that number is expected to more than double. What's behind the boom? DailyFinance's Danny King reports.

Disgruntled JetBlue Employee Slides Into Fame: Steven Slater had no way of knowing that his momentary meltdown on board a JetBlue Airways (JBLU) aircraft Monday would render him an instant hero among America's overworked masses -- especially his fellow flight attendants. For its part, the New York-based airline was strangely silent for hours following the incident, which culminated in Slater making a hasty exit via the plane's emergency evacuation shoot. But on Wednesday afternoon the company broke its silence -- sort of. At its blog, BlueTales, JetBlue didn't refer to Slater by name, but, rather, wryly asked, "Perhaps you heard a little story about one of our flight attendants?" It added that it couldn't discuss details, but acknowledged that plenty of others had weighed in with comments. "Like, the entire Internet."

Economy Prompts Stock Slide: Investors Thursday will be eying stocks in the hope of some recovery of the heavy losses that struck Wall Street on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average ($INDU) slid more than 260 points and the Nasdaq ($COMPX) fell 3% as further evidence surfaced of a slowdown in the economic recovery. A report Wednesday from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade gap widened unexpectedly in June, helping to push stocks lower.

More Americans Losing Homes: Home foreclosures rose in July, up 9% from June and 6% from July 2009, foreclosure-listing firm RealtyTrac said Thursday. The number of properties rose to 92,858 last month, as banks continued to aggressively repossess homes, seeking to clear a backlog of bad loans. July marks the eighth consecutive month in which the pace of homes lost to foreclosure has increased on an annual basis.

Consumer Spending Tepid In July: A new report Thursday showed U.S. consumers were more reluctant to spend last month, further evidence that the economic recovery may have stalled. Excluding gasoline and autos, retail spending rose a meager 0.1% in July from June, according to data from MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse. Excluding autos, sales fell 0.9%. Another measure of consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the nation's economic activity, is due Friday when the Commerce Department releases its July retail sales report.

Revenues Fall Short At Cisco: Per-share earnings at Cisco Systems (CSCO) rose 74% in its fiscal fourth quarter, the computer networking giant reported after stock markets wrapped up Wednesday trading. Cisco said it earned 33 cents a share, compared with 29 cents a share a year ago. Still, revenues of $10.8 billion fell short of Wall Street expectations, sending the stock down 8% in after-hours trading. Ahead of the stock-market open in New York, Cisco shares were down more than 7%.

BP Exec's Parachute Not So Golden: Ousted BP (BP) Chief Executive Tony Hayward, who likely will be remembered if only for his infamous bungling of the Gulf oil spill, will walk away with a handsome $18.5 million compensation package when he steps down in October. But as Luxist's Jared Paul Stern reports, Hayward's golden parachute is pretty paltry compared to those of other recently ousted CEOs.
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