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Briefs

Bancorp earnings up 54 percent

Northeast Indiana Bancorp Inc. on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings of $840,142, or 69 cents a diluted common share, a 54 percent jump from the $547,128, or 44 cents a share, posted for the same three months of 2013.

Northeast Indiana Bancorp set aside an additional $225,000 to cover bad loans, $75,000 less than it shifted to reserves during last year’s first quarter. In the quarter ended March 31, the financial services company charged off more than $57,700 in bad debt compared to a net recovery of more than $33,500 made during the previous year’s second quarter.

The Huntington parent of First Federal Savings Bank was the third-largest Small Business Administration lender in Indiana, based on dollar value, as of March 31, CEO Michael Zahn said.

“We are extremely pleased with our recent financial performance,” he said in a statement. “A combination of factors had led to our success. The most important factor is the hard work and dedication of our employees. We’ve been able to expand our (profit) margins while controlling overhead.”

Consumer prices rise by slight 0.2 percent

Lower U.S. gasoline prices kept consumer inflation in check last month, helping to offset higher costs for food and clothing.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in March, after scant 0.1 percent increases in the previous two months.

Prices have risen just 1.5 percent year over year. That remains well below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target for inflation.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices increased 0.2 percent in March and 1.7 percent in the past year.

Prices at the gas pump tumbled 1.7 percent in March, lowering costs for the overall energy category.

J&J net income grows 8 percent on drug sales

A turnaround in Johnson & Johnson’s prescription medicine business fueled by new drugs, combined with reduced production and administration expenses, lifted first-quarter profit by 8 percent.

The world’s biggest maker of health care products beat Wall Street expectations and raised its earnings outlook Tuesday.

The maker of Band-Aids and biologic drugs said net income was $4.73 billion, or $1.64 a share, up from $3.5 billion, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, income was $4.43 billion, or $1.54 a share. Analysts expected $1.48.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company said revenue totaled $18.12 billion, up 3.5 percent. Analysts expected $18.04 billion.

Housing confidence edges up in April

U.S. homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market rose modestly in April but remained at low levels for the third straight month, constrained by tight credit for home buyers and a shortage of workers and available land.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index, which measures confidence in the single-family home market, edged up to 47 in April from 46 in March, the homebuilders group reported Tuesday.

Readings below 50 mean builders view sales conditions as poor.

The index had been above 50 from June through January.

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