Company News: GlaxoSmithKline, Banks, Michael Kors, Costco, Coca-Cola, JPMorgan Chase

GlaxoSmithKline stumbles in China; U.S. lenders report bullish earnings; and more

• Chinese investigators say GlaxoSmithKline and other unnamed drugmakers used bribes and sexual favors to win a bigger slice of the world’s fastest-growing pharmaceutical market. In a statement, Glaxo said it is “deeply concerned” by allegations that it worked with Chinese travel agencies to launder nearly half a billion dollars in illegal payments. Its revenue in China climbed 17 percent last year to $1.1 billion.

• Bank of America posted a better-than-expected $4 billion quarterly profit—a 63 percent jump—extending a streak of bullish earnings reports from U.S. lenders. Net income at Goldman Sachs almost doubled, while Citigroup logged a 42 percent profit jump. Banks have been buoyed by greater demand for stocks, rising home prices, and big reductions in the amounts they must set aside to cover bad loans.

• Michael Kors Holdings is suing Costco Wholesale for a “bait-and-switch” promotion of products that the warehouse retailer allegedly wasn’t authorized to sell. Costco is already in a battle with Tiffany over whether the engagement rings it sells can bear the jeweler’s name.

• Coca-Cola blamed a shaky economy in Europe and unseasonably cold, rainy weather for a 4 percent drop in second-quarter profit. Coke saw only a 1 percent increase in volume sales, far less than expected. In the U.S., consumers continued to cool on sugary soft drinks, though they increasingly thirst for Coke’s juices and teas.

• JPMorgan Chase and U.S. regulators reportedly are near a record settlement to resolve allegations that the bank rigged energy markets in California and the Midwest. Barclays faces a $435 million fine for similar charges.

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