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Briefs

GM boosts investment in Lansing

General Motors says it will invest $44.5 million at a Lansing, Mich., factory, creating 200 new jobs.

The automaker says it will build a 400,000-square-foot building next to the Lansing Grand River plant to assemble parts and put them in the right order for manufacturing.

The factory already employs more than 1,500 hourly and salaried workers who make the Cadillac ATS and CTS luxury sports sedans. It also will make the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro in 2015.

GM, which has an Allen County truck assembly plant, says the new logistics center will make the factory more efficient and cut transportation costs.

The plant now makes the ATS small car, and coupe, sedan, wagon and high-performance “V” models of the CTS midsize car on the same assembly line.

The new building and workers will boost quality and efficiency by assembling parts and putting them in the right sequence for all the different models, including the new Camaro, GM spokeswoman Erin Davis says.

Housing recovery lifts Home Depot

Even though the weather was poor, Home Depot posted an 18 percent increase in its net income for the first quarter thanks to the ongoing housing recovery.

Its quarterly results topped Wall Street’s view, and the world’s biggest home improvement chain boosted its full-year earnings and revenue forecasts Tuesday.

For the three months ended May 5, Home Depot Inc. earned $1.23 billion, or 83 cents a share. That’s up from $1.04 billion, or 68 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts predicted earnings of 76 cents a share, according to a FactSet survey.

“In the first quarter, we saw less favorable weather compared to last year, but we continue to see benefit from a recovering housing market that drove a stronger-than-expected start to the year for our business,” Chairman and CEO Frank Blake said in a statement.

Revenue for the Atlanta company rose 7 percent to $19.12 billion from $17.81 billion. Wall Street expected $18.62 billion.

Best Buy reports $81 million loss

Best Buy Co., the world’s largest consumer-electronics retailer, posted an $81 million first-quarter net loss as the company lowers prices to compete with online rivals.

The loss of 24 cents a share in the quarter ended May 4 compares with net income of $158 million, or 46 cents, a year earlier, the Richfield, Minn.-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Sales by stores at least 14 months fell 1.3 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Hubert Joly, hired in August to turn Best Buy around, made permanent its holiday policy of matching Internet competitors’ prices to win back sales from Amazon.com Inc. That contributed to the company’s gross margin – the portion of sales left after subtracting the cost of goods sold – shrinking about 1.8 percentage points to 23.1 percent.

Ohio counties see jobless rate drop

Unemployment in four neighboring northwest Ohio counties decreased in April, state officials said Tuesday.

Paulding had the lowest jobless rate, 6.5 percent, down from 7 percent in March. Other declines were Defiance, 6.9 percent from 7.3 percent; Van Wert, 6.6 percent from 7.4 percent; and Williams, 6.6 percent from 7.4 percent.

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