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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Airlines bank $6 billion on reservation changes and baggage fees, S&P downgrades Berkshire Hathaway, and more
U.S. airlines collectively made $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012.
U.S. airlines collectively made $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. WALMART EARNINGS MISS THE MARK
Walmart announced revenue of $114.2 billion for the first quarter, missing analysts' expectations of $116.3 billion. Same-store sales fell 1.4 percent, and visits dropped 1.8 percent, while shares rose 4.6 percent to $1.14 per share, a penny below expectations. Walmart blamed the weaker-than-expected numbers on "challenging weather conditions," the payroll tax increase, and late tax refunds. [New York Times]

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2. DISH RAISES $2.6 BILLION FOR SPRINT DEAL
To back a $25.5 billion takeover bid for Sprint Nextel, Dish raised $2.6 billion selling junk bonds Wednesday, accounting for roughly one-fourth of the $9 billion Dish plans to borrow for the purchase. The move was somewhat unusual. While many companies raise money for a takeover before the deal is done, they usually have at least a tentative agreement and financing plan with the takeover target before they sell securities — something Dish didn't do. [Wall Street Journal]

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3. AIRLINES BANK $6 BILLION ON RESERVATION CHANGE AND BAGGAGE FEES
United States' airlines raked in $6 billion in reservation change and baggage fees, the highest since the add-ons became popular five years ago. The 15 largest airlines collected a combined $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012, up 3.8 percent from 2011, and reservation change fees reached $2.6 billion, up 7.3 percent. Airlines made $159.5 billion in revenue last year, against expenses of $153.6 billion. That means that 3.7 profit margin came entirely from the two fees. [CBC]

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4. BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY DOWNGRADED TO AA
Standard & Poors downgraded Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway's overall rating one click, to AA, on Thursday, while keeping its insurance financial strength rating at AA+. The reason, according to S&P: Over-reliance on the company's insurance, which generates the majority of dividends. [MarketWatch]

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5. OBAMA RELEASES FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
President Obama and Vice President Biden released financial statements for last year, meaning they filled out an eight-page form about their wealth that asked questions in ranges. For example, Obama checked the box saying his total assets are between $1.8 million to nearly $7 million for the year 2012, while Biden checked the one that said $120,000 to $550,000. The Obamas' only liability is the $500,001 to $1 million mortgage on their home in Chicago. [USA Today]

Carmel Lobello is the business editor at TheWeek.com. Previously, she was an editor at DeathandTaxesMag.com.

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