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Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Briefcase

February 6, 2002

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Factory orders rise, lifting hope for recovery

Stronger demand for semiconductors, household appliances and machinery helped lift factory orders in December, suggesting the nation's beleaguered manufacturers may be coming out of their long slump.

After falling by 4.3 percent in November, orders to U.S. factories for manufactured goods rose by 1.2 percent in December, the second increase in the last three months, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Education: Greenspan stumps for financial literacy

Schools need to do better at teaching basic mathematics to reduce an alarming lack of knowledge about fundamental financial concepts, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Tuesday.

Greenspan said many studies have pointed to a critical need to improve financial literacy  the lack of which, Greenspan said, leaves millions of Americans vulnerable to financial losses from unscrupulous business practices.

He said schools should teach basic financial concepts better in elementary and secondary schools.

Pork: Seaboard Farms announces Texas site for new plant

Merriam-based Seaboard Farms Inc. intends to build a $150 million pork-processing plant in the Texas panhandle, a project that would pump a $75 million payroll into the 13,000-resident community of Dumas.

The project would take about two years to build and have up to 2,300 employees, including more than 400 salaried, clerical and management professionals, officials said.

But Seaboard still must obtain all necessary permits, said Rod Brenneman, company president.

Bankruptcy: Kmart could back out of Daytona 500 deal

Kmart Corp. has requested a bankruptcy court's permission to opt out of a sponsorship agreement with the Daytona 500.

The discount retailer, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Jan. 22, called the Daytona 500 contract an unnecessary use of its much-needed cash. The Troy-based company filed its request this week and a judge's decision is expected Feb. 13.

In April 2000, Kmart agreed to pay International Speedway Corp.  the motorsports promoter and owner of several racetracks, including Kansas Speedway  $685,000 this year and $735,000 next year to become an official corporate sponsor and official mass retailer of the Daytona 500, which will be run Feb. 17.

Telecommunications: BellSouth to combine call centers to cut costs

BellSouth Corp. said Tuesday it would consolidate its 75 call centers into 28 expanded offices to achieve greater operating efficiency amid sluggish demand.

The reorganization will cut 966 positions, but BellSouth expects some employees to transfer within its nine-state region, leaving a net loss of 650 to 700 people unemployed, the company said.

BellSouth is the dominant local phone company in nine Southeastern states from North Carolina to Mississippi. Company shares fell 93 cents to close at $37.75 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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