Lawmakers are trying to extend and expand an $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers, a stimulus-package tax break that many regard as a significant prop for the still-tottering economy. The latest Senate proposal would drop the requirement that the credit be available only to first-time buyers, broadening the reach of the program but also adding to its cost, estimated by congressional analysts at $16.7 billion. The backers of that idea, Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate’s banking committee, have suggested that their measure be attached to another pending bill aimed at throwing a lifeline to people hit by the recession, an extension of federal assistance to the millions in danger of exhausting unemployment insurance benefits.
Google’s third-quarter profits beat estimates
Google Inc. posted third-quarter results Thursday indicating the Internet advertising market is bouncing back after being knocked down by the recession. The figures were highlighted by a $1.64 billion profit, the most money the 11-year-old company has made during any three-month period. Google earned $1.29 billion at the same time last year. Revenue for the three months ending in September climbed 7 percent to $5.94 billion. That’s the Internet search leader’s fastest growth rate so far this year. Both the earnings and revenue topped analyst estimates.
Goldman Sachs triples profit from a year ago
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s third-quarter earnings more than tripled from the depths of the financial crisis a year ago as higher trading profits offset a drop in investment banking. Goldman earned $3.03 billion in the July-September period, or $5.25 per share, easily beating analysts’ expectations of $4.24, the bank reported Thursday. Goldman also recorded $5.35 billion in compensation expenses. The bank earned $810 million, or $1.81 per share, during its fiscal third quarter of last year, which ended in August.
Sidekick owners may get lost data after all
There may be a happy ending after all for owners of Sidekick phones who thought they might have permanently lost contact numbers and other personal information they had put on the gadget. Earlier this week, T-Mobile said information stored by many Sidekick owners was “almost certainly” gone for good following a failure of the computers that remotely stored the data. But Microsoft Corp., whose Danger Inc. subsidiary makes the phones that are sold through T-Mobile USA, said Thursday it recovered “most, if not all” of the missing data and will restore it as soon as it validates the information. Microsoft apologized for the glitch. In a letter to Sidekick customers, Microsoft said it would “work around the clock to restore data to all affected users, including calendar, notes, tasks, photographs and high scores, as quickly as possible.”
From Herald news services