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THURSDAY, AUGUST 16, 2007
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State dairy prices up in July

Rising dairy prices pushed Alabama grocery bills higher in August despite savings on beef, tomatoes and certain cuts of pork, according to a monthly survey by the Alabama Farmers Federation. The average cost of 20 basic market-basket items was $51.45 this month, up $1.50 or 3 percent from July.

The Federation blamed growing demand for cheese and milk in developing countries like China, coupled with a drought in Australia and reduced supplies in the United States and European Union, for increased dairy prices.

The survey showed generally lower prices for non-dairy items. T-bone steaks averaged $8.28 a pound, down 19 cents. Ground beef also was 2 cents cheaper at $2.16 a pound. Pork chops were $3.28 a pound, down 11 cents, but bacon was up 50 cents, to $3.98 a pound.

Eric Fleischauer

Report: NASA to drop Delta II

NASA plans to discontinue its use of Delta II launch vehicles, switching instead to the Delta IV and Atlas V, by the end of the decade, according to a report in Space.com.

Decatur’s United Launch Alliance plant is the main production facility for the Delta II and Delta IV. It is in the process of developing a production line for the Atlas V. The U.S. Air Force had already announced it would quit using the Delta II. According to the report, NASA followed suit because the reduced number of flights would increase the per-flight cost of the Delta II.

Officials at ULA and NASA did not immediately return calls. In previous interviews, ULA officials said discontinuation of the Delta II would have no impact on employment at the Decatur ULA plant.

Eric Fleischauer

Boeing job set for Huntsville

The Boeing Co. announced Wednesday that it would transfer production of a warhead for ship-based missile interceptors from California to its Huntsville facility.

Boeing produces the non-explosive kinetic warhead for the Standard Missile-3, the missile interceptor used by the Navy for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. The warhead guides the missile interceptor and uses the force of the enemy missile impact to destroy it.

Boeing will transfer 30 jobs to the Huntsville facility, which it plans to complete in 2008.

Eric Fleischauer

Deere &Co. sees record profit

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Farm equipment maker Deere & Co. posted a record third-quarter profit Wednesday, driving its shares up more than 5 percent amid strong global sales that analysts predict will continue to rise in 2008.

Moline-based Deere also raised its earnings forecast for the year as net income grew 23 percent to $537.2 million, or $2.37 per share, for the quarter that ended July 31, up from $436 million, or $1.85 per share in the same period a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.99 per share for the quarter. Shares jumped $3.51, or 3 percent, to $120.60 Wednesday.

Macy’s earnings down 77%

CINCINNATI — Macy’s Inc. said Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings fell 77 percent as it continues to be hurt by costs from its takeover of a former rival along with lower sales. It also warned that third-quarter and full-year earnings would come in below Wall Street estimates, and its stock hit a 52-week low.

Profit declined to $74 million, or 16 cents per share, for the quarter ended Aug. 4, from $317 million, or 57 cents per share. Excluding costs of $60 million, or 13 cents per share, from the acquisition of May Department Stores Co., Cincinnati-based Macy’s earned 29 cents per share in the latest period, compared with 33 cents in the 2006 second quarter.

Sara Lee’s 4Q profits soar

CHICAGO — Food maker Sara Lee Corp. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit soared, and executives pointed to the success of a turnaround plan that has helped sales rise in nearly every division.

The better-than-expected results were boosted by growing revenue in the company’s bakery, household products and body care businesses.

For the quarter ending June 30, the maker of frozen cheesecakes, Ball Park hot dogs and Hillshire Farm deli meats said its profit grew to $117 million, or 16 cents per share. That’s a more than 14-fold increase from its $8 million profit a year ago.

compiled from wire reports

In comparison, about 310,000 U.S. children ages 1 to 5 have blood lead levels that require treatment or other measures, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alcoa

NEW YORK — Aluminum company Alcoa Inc. said Wednesday its board of directors named Klaus Kleinfeld president and chief operating officer.

Kleinfeld, 49, had been president and chief executive of engineering company Siemens AG, based in Munich, Germany. He stepped down June 30 amid a growing scandal and rising pressure from members of Siemens’ supervisory board about his future.

The departure of Kleinfeld, who was CEO for the last two years of his 20-year career at Siemens, followed that of board chairman Heinrich von Pierer, one of Germany’s best-known business figures.

compiled from wire reports

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

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