United and American suspended operations in the region by afternoon, as white-out conditions developed. Other airlines canceled flights, too. All are encouraging passengers to reschedule and are allowing them to do it for free.
Airlines are quick to cancel flights ahead of major storms to avoid stranding aircraft and crews. Doing so also lessens storm-related financial losses. About 1,300 U.S. flights had been canceled on Wednesday afternoon, according to flight tracker FlightAware. About 40 percent of those were at Newark Liberty International Airport — which was also the hardest hit with Superstorm Sandy last Monday. Most of those cancellations were made well before the first snowflake fell.
Macy’s sends mixed forecast
NEW YORK — Macy’s Inc. sent out a mixed message: It raised its annual profit guidance but told investors Wednesday that Superstorm Sandy would temper the start of the holiday season.
The department store chain’s fourth-quarter profit forecast was below analysts’ expectations, and it noted that this month’s business would be negatively impacted by Sandy. That puts more pressure on December and January to achieve sales goals.
The guidance came as Macy’s posted a 4.3 percent increase in third-quarter net income, helped by its efforts to tailor merchandise to local markets and bring in exclusive trendy brands.
Time Warner 3Q profits up
NEW YORK — Time Warner said Wednesday that its third-quarter earnings grew 2 percent, as a strong performance in its cable television channels offset declines in the Warner Bros. movie business following the final Harry Potter movie last summer.
Net income was $838 million, or 86 cents per share, higher than the 82 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. That compares with $822 million, or 78 cents a share, a year ago.
Revenue fell 3 percent to $6.84 billion, short of the $6.89 billion expected.
EU forecasts downward GDP
BRUSSELS — Europe’s economy is still reeling and unemployment could remain high for years despite the progress made in solving the debt crisis, the European Union warned Wednesday, as it downgraded next year’s forecasts for the 27-country bloc.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, on Wednesday revised downward its forecast for the region’s gross domestic product, which it now expects will grow by just 0.4 percent in 2013, compared to its expectations this spring of 1.3 percent growth.
The commission previously expected the 17 countries that use the euro to find their footing next year, with 1 percent growth. Now it predicts only a 0.1 percent uptick.
Student loans boost credit
WASHINGTON — Americans took out more student and auto loans in September to boost consumer borrowing to a record level. But they cut back on credit card borrowing, a sign many remain cautious about taking on high-interest debt.
Total consumer borrowing rose $11.4 billion in September compared with August, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.
Total consumer debt outstanding, which excludes mortgages and other housing-related borrowing, stands at $2.74 trillion - the highest level on record.
The increase was driven entirely by a category that consists mostly of student and auto loans. Borrowing in that category increased $14.3 billion. Credit card borrowing fell $2.9 billion, the third drop in four months.