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Monday business briefs

Relieved retailers have sparse

inventory after holiday sales

Retailers have thin inventories after coming out of Christmas with slightly better-than-expected sales. Some retailers kept inventory so low they've had to bring in new merchandise to restock shelves, a rare move this soon after Christmas. But it also means slim pickings for after-Christmas sales. After-Christmas traffic also appeared to be relatively robust.

Pilgrim's Pride emerging from

bankruptcy with beef firm

Chicken producer Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said Monday it has emerged from bankruptcy and will soon be part of the world's largest beef producer, JBS SA. JBS said it bought a majority stake for $800 million in cash. Pilgrim's filed for Chapter 11 about a year ago; it was unable to cope with mounting debt, low chicken prices and rising feed costs.

Commodities, retail receipts

extend stock gains Better holiday sales and rising commodities prices pushed stocks to their sixth straight gain and new highs for 2009. Major indexes edged higher in light trading Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.98 points, or 0.3 percent, to 10,547.08, its highest close since Oct. 1, 2008. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.30, or 0.1 percent, to 1,127.78, and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 5.39, or 0.2 percent, to 2,291.08.

Fannie, Freddie rise in trading

as U.S. lifts caps on aid

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac surged more than 20 percent in trading Monday after the U.S. Treasury ended the caps on aid for the next three years. The Treasury Department announced Thursday that the two mortgage-finance companies, which were seized by the government almost 16 months ago, could tap an unlimited amount of capital for three years, up from as much as $200 billion each. Fannie shares finished up 22 cents Monday to close at $1.27. Shares of Freddie finished up 34 cents to close at $1.60.

From wire reports

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