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Business Briefs

Non-stop flights to New York

HUNTSVILLE — Huntsville International Airport will begin non-stop service to New York’s LaGuardia, beginning Sept. 6.

Delta Air Lines will provide the flights, said the airport’s director of marketing, Barbie Peek, at a board of directors meeting Tuesday.

Flights will depart Huntsville at 6:45 a.m. and arrive in New York at 10:02. Return service will depart LaGuardia at 9:00 p.m. and arrive in Huntsville at 10:41 on weekdays.

Also at the meeting, Executive Director Rick Tucker reported June passenger traffic was up 3.5 percent over June 2006, according to preliminary numbers. The actual increase will be higher because the preliminary numbers do not include United Express passengers to Washington Dulles.

Rail cargo traffic at the intermodal center was down sharply — 22.5 percent — in June compared to year-ago figures.

Eric Fleischauer

D.R. Horton’s net orders plunge

DALLAS — The traditional spring home-selling season was a bust for D.R. Horton Inc., one of the biggest nationwide homebuilders.

Horton said Tuesday it will post a loss from operations for its latest quarter after net orders fell 40 percent and it wrote down the value of unsold houses.

The report provided more evidence that the housing sector continues to sink.

Inventories of unsold used homes are at their highest level in 15 years. Experts blame tougher rules on qualifying for mortgages. They also say the slowdown is a normal comedown after several years of strong sales.

Horton shares fell 39 cents, or 2 percent, to $19.40 Tuesday after sinking to a new 52-week low of $19.16 earlier in the session.

No verdict in Hollinger case

CHICAGO — The jury in the racketeering and fraud trial of fallen media tycoon Conrad Black sent a note to the judge Tuesday saying they are unable to reach a verdict and asking for advice.

The note read to the court by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said: “We have discussed and deliberated on all the evidence and are still unable to reach a unanimous verdict on one or more counts. Please advise.”

The note, sent during their ninth day of deliberations, was signed by the jury foreman and ended with: “P.S. We have read the jury instructions very carefully.”

Black is accused of swindling shareholders in the Hollinger International Inc. newspaper empire out of more than $60 million. He faces 13 criminal counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud and racketeering.

Euro hits new record

NEW YORK — The euro shot to an all-time high against the U.S. dollar Tuesday on concerns about the American economy that were fueled by discouraging growth forecasts from key U.S. retailers and homebuilders.

The British pound, which has been trading around 26-year highs against the dollar, briefly touched $2.0273 after reports showed British consumer prices were rising at a faster pace than the target set by the Bank of England.

The euro hit a new record of $1.3738 Tuesday, its highest level against the dollar since the 13-nation currency started trading in 1999, before retreating to $1.3729. That was still above the euro’s previous high of $1.3682 reached on April 27 and the $1.3623 it bought late Monday in New York.

Levi Strauss’ profit jumps

SAN FRANCISCO — Levi Strauss & Co.’s second-quarter profit rose 14 percent, accelerating a comeback that has spurred talk the storied jeans maker might go public again after more than two decades as a privately held company.

The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday it earned $45.7 million during the three months ended May 27 compared with net income of $40.2 million a year ago.

Gas prices continue to climb

NEW YORK — Gasoline prices extended their upward climb Tuesday, jumping another penny overnight while oil and gas futures rose on concerns about gasoline production.

The market received new reports of refinery problems, exacerbating concerns from Monday, when BP PLC was forced to shut down a huge oil processing unit for maintenance in Whiting, Ind. Investors were again questioning the adequacy of gasoline supplies, putting upward pressure on gas futures.

At the pump, gas prices jumped a cent overnight to a national average of $2.975, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Retail prices, which typically lag futures prices, peaked at $3.227 a gallon in late May, then fell steadily until last week. Prices have risen 2.6 cents since then.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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