Roundup: Google awards $106M in stock, cash to Schmidt; 'Polar vortex' wallops fliers' wallets; more

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 10:18 p.m.

Google awards $106M in stock, cash to executive chairman

Google will award its $100 million worth of equity to Eric Schmidt, plus a $6 million cash bonus in recognition of the executive chairman's contributions to the company's performance in 2013. Google Inc. said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that the restricted stock award will be granted on Wednesday and vest over four years starting in May 2015. The cash bonus will be paid on Feb. 14. This is the second $100 million restricted stock award Google has given Schmidt in three years. Schmidt received the other one, which also vests over four years, in January 2011, four months before Schmidt was replaced as CEO by Larry Page.

‘Polar vortex' chills airline industry

Flights canceled in January's “polar vortex” inflicted $2.5 billion in costs on stranded travelers, according to analysis. The 49,000 flights canceled last month more than doubled the number halted by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Snow, sleet and frigid temperatures led to more than 300,000 delays, said MasFlight, an aviation operations technology company in Bethesda, Md. And two more storms are barreling toward the East Coast. The region is home to the nation's busiest airspace. Travel foul-ups there ripple throughout the country. The $2.5 billion figure represents lost productivity, hotel expenses and meals, MasFlight reported. The airline industry lost $75 million to $150 million. But industry experts say the financial hit from the brutal weather is unlikely to lead to higher fares.

Factory orders down 1.5% in December

Manufacturers experienced a decline in orders for their products in December by the largest amount in five months. However, the setback for a key category that tracks business investment was not as large as first reported. Orders to factories fell 1.5 percent in December, the biggest drop since July, with much of the weakness from a plunge in aircraft orders, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Orders had risen 1.5 percent in November after a 0.5 percent October decrease.

Home prices lose ground in December

Home prices slipped from November to December, and the year-over-year increase slowed, likely a result of weaker sales at the end of last year. Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices dipped 0.1 percent in December. It was the third consecutive month-to-month drop. Home prices had risen for eight consecutive months through September. For all of 2013, prices rose a healthy 11 percent. That was roughly equal to the 11.4 percent price increase for the 12 months that ended in November.

Other business news

• Ohio Valley General Hospital will use a $400,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to modernize and expand medical technology at the hospital. The 138-bed nonprofit hospital in Kennedy said it plans to upgrade patient monitors in the emergency department, update a nursing call system and start a simulation laboratory in its school of nursing.

• West Point Products plans to close operations in West Virginia in March and relocate jobs to a nearby facility in Washington, Pa. About 50 of the 93 sales and administration employees at the Valley Grove plant will be offered jobs in Washington, said Tom Day, president of the company. West Point provides independent resellers with replacement imaging supplies, printing services and recycling programs. The two offices are 18 miles apart, and Day said it is no longer feasible to operate both.

— Staff and wire reports

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