Business briefs

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said record crude prices helped its first-quarter profit climb 17 percent to $10.9 billion, the second-biggest U.S. quarterly profit ever. But the results still fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts, and its shares fell almost 4 percent. The company’s refining operations limited earnings growth, because oil prices rose even faster than increases at the gasoline pump.

Home Depot plans to close 15 stores

Atlanta-based Home Depot put the brakes Thursday on some of its future expansion plans and said it would close 15 of its underperforming flagship stores. It is the first time the world’s largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. The move will affect 1,300 employees. None of the affected stores are on the West Coast.

Apple’s iTunes will offer movies faster

Apple Inc. said new movies from a slate of major studios will now be available for purchase over iTunes the same day they’re released on DVD. The change will beef up the number of new titles available in the iTunes online store and help the service compete better against DVD retailers.Until this week, many of the movies available for purchase over iTunes were older releases.

Major auto parts firm receives help

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved financing that allows auto parts maker Plastech Engineered Products Inc. to stay open through Aug. 31. A judge signed an order allowing Plastech to accept loans from its major customers, including Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. Plastech filed for bankruptcy protection Feb. 1, and it had stopped shipping parts to Chrysler, causing four plants to close briefly.

Kodak improves, but posts big loss

Eastman Kodak Co. said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $115 million as it battles for a bigger slice of digital photography after navigating a drastic, four-year overhaul. Hit by rising costs for raw materials, Kodak lost the equivalent of 40 cents a share in the ­January-March quarter, compared with a loss of $151 million a year earlier. Sales rose 1 percent to $2.09 billion.

Comcast profit falls, but stock up

Promotional offers and higher cable television spending fueled first-quarter profits for Comcast Corp., which showed limited effects from an economic slowdown. The nation’s largest cable operator posted a 12.5 percent decline in profits, but it was mainly due to one-time gains last year from the dissolution of cable partnerships. Excluding those factors, earnings actually rose by 9.5 percent.

Aloha Airlines’ air cargo division sells

The parent company of Hawaii’s biggest interisland ocean shipper has worked out a deal to buy Aloha Airlines’ cargo operation, which shut down Monday. Saltchuk Resources Inc. said it had obtained the consent of Aloha’s main lender, GMAC Commercial Finance. The purchase price wasn’t announced.

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