SCBT earnings fall 19 percent in third quarter
SCBT Financial Corp. earnings slipped 19 percent to $9.1 million or 60 cents per share in the third quarter, but only because its acquisition of BankMeridian pushed up last year’s earnings, bank officials said. Operating earnings, which do not include merger and conversion expenses, soared 91 percent to 63 cents per share – or $9.4 million – from 33 cents – or $4.6 million – during the July through September period last year. The bank’s board of directors declared a cash dividend of 18 cents per share. CEO Robert Hill said he was pleased with the bank’s performance. “We have made consistent progress in most operating facets each quarter this year,” he said.
Airlines allow passengers to alter plans because of storms
NEW YORK Some U.S. airlines are giving travelers a way out if they want to scrap their plans due to a massive storm expected to hit the East Coast. JetBlue, US Airways and Spirit Airlines are offering waivers to customers who wish to reschedule their flights without the typical fee of up to $150. Hurricane Sandy plowed through the Bahamas early Friday after leaving 38 people dead across the Caribbean. It could blend with a winter storm to produce a so-called “Frankenstorm” along the U.S. East Coast next week. Those hoping to fly in or out of affected areas are asked to check their flight status before heading to the airport. To cancel, call the airline directly.
Apple stock dips below $600
NEW YORK Apple’s stock fell below $600 on Friday for the first time in three months, after the consumer electronics behemoth warned that costs of making new products will cut into profits in the holiday quarter. Apple’s earnings for the latest quarter also missed expectations. Apple shares were down to $593 in afternoon trading. The stock pared back some of its losses to end trading at $604, still down $5.54 or .9 percent. Late Thursday, Apple said profits for the rest of the year would fall from last year because it’s launching so many new products. It’s expecting mammoth sales, but new products are more expensive to make than older ones. Apple launched the iPhone 5 a month ago and announced two new iPads and three new Macs this week. In addition, it’s shipping new iPods.
Bacteria, mold found in pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak
WASHINGTON Federal health inspectors say they found bacteria and mold growing in rooms that were supposed to be kept sterile at the pharmacy linked to a deadly outbreak of meningitis. The Food and Drug Administration has released its initial report after investigating the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., earlier this month. Inspectors say they found green, yellow and red growths, water droplets and other potential contaminants in a room used to mix and seal specially formulated medicines. Steroid injections made by the New England Compounding Center have been tied to an outbreak of fungal meningitis that has sickened 328 people across the U.S., causing 24 deaths. Last week FDA officials confirmed the black fungus found in company vials is the same as that which has sickened patients.
The Associated Press contributed.