Business Buzz: US Airways-UAL Merger Talks; First-Quarter GDP Revised Higher

Today's business headlines.

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US Airways and United Merger Meeting Today

The chief executive officers of US Airways Group and UAL, the parent company of United Airlines, will meet today to consider a merger between the two air carriers. This face-to-face meeting comes after two months of talks between United, the second-largest airline by passenger traffic, and its competitor. Earlier talks resulted in an agreement that a combined carrier would be based in Chicago and would be worth about $1.5 billion in annual cost savings and added revenue.

Rick Newman details the six ways passengers are affected by airline mergers.

Sears down with first quarter losses

Sears Holding did worse than expected in the first quarter with a net loss of $56 million, or 43 cents a share, as sales fell 5.8 percent to $11.1 billion. Analysts were looking for earnings of 15 cents a share on $11.4 billion in revenue. The company blamed the results on a weak economy and stressed consumer finances from rising gas and food prices. The company plans to launch a clothing campaign featuring hip-hop artist LL Cool J to boost apparel sales.

Matthew Bandyk reports how online retail could help in a slump.

Costco profit jumps 32 percent

Costco Wholesale reported fiscal third-quarter profits of $295.1 million, or 67 cents per share, vs. $224 million, or 49 cents per share, a year ago, which included a $30.3 million charge. Analysts were looking for 65 cents a share. Sales increased 13 percent to $16.3 billion from $14.3 billion in the year-ago quarter. Including membership fees, revenue rose to $16.6 billion from $14.7 billion.

GDP higher than projected

The U.S. economy grew at a 0.9 annual pace in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department. That's a bit faster than the government's earlier projection of 0.6 percent growth and about what economists were looking for. The increase reflects upward revisions in construction and trade. Consumer spending was up 1 percent, the slowest pace since 2001. In the fourth quarter, the nation's gross domestic product increased 0.6 percent.

Kirk Shinkle explains how corporate profits are affected by GDP.