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Around the business world

Daily Staff Report

Stocks drift after two-day plunge: NEW YORK – Stocks traded mixed as Wall Street tempered its stress over rising interest rates that sent the market plunging in the last two sessions. Friday’s up-and-down activity showed investors are still unsettled about inflation and the economy in the absence of any new data. An upswing in consumer prices this week sparked fears that the Federal Reserve will keep increasing interest rates and sent the Dow Jones industrial average down 291 points on Wednesday and Thursday.Oil prices fall again: Oil prices fell after Iran’s minister to OPEC said the group was not likely to cut production at its June meeting despite signs of surplus supply in the market.Northwest sees progress with unions; soaring fuel costs still a challenge: MINNEAPOLIS – In fits and starts, Northwest Airlines Corp. is nailing down the union concessions it needs to cut costs and emerge from bankruptcy. But big challenges, including soaring fuel costs, still dog the carrier.Ted Turner bids his media conglomerate adieu: ATLANTA – Ted Turner was uncharacteristically understated as he officially departed the media conglomerate that swallowed his broadcasting company and slowly sidelined him as a mover and shaker of the businesses that he created. “I just wish the last five years I could have made a bigger contribution,” Turner told shareholders at Time Warner Inc.’s annual meeting. “I hung in there as long as I could.”Bud buying Rolling Rock: Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., citing consumers’ need for variety in beer, paid $82 million to purchase the Rolling Rock beer brand from InBev USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev SA.Marketers make move on Hispanic World Cup market: PORTLAND, Ore. – The stakes are staggering as companies lunge for a slice of the Hispanic market in the United States during the once-in-four-years World Cup blowout June 9-July 9. While many advertisers chasing the Hispanic market in the United States are saving their best shots for the games themselves, activity is picking up.Mittal sweetens bid for Arcelor, offers to reduce family stake: LONDON – Mittal Steel Co. significantly sweetened its hostile bid for Arcelor SA in an attempt to increase pressure on its rival to agree to a deal, raised its offer by 34 percent and saying it would reduce the Mittal family’s stake in the company.Toyota rolls out best-selling Camry in China, hoping to make up for lost time: SHANGHAI, China – Toyota, on course to overtake General Motors as the world’s biggest automaker, is well behind in the world’s fastest-growing market – and one where GM is thriving: China. But on Tuesday, Toyota hopes to take a key step toward catching up when it rolls out its first made-in-China Camry, the best-selling model in the United States.Gold’s high price disappoints brides, grooms, disrupts tradition in Afghanistan: KABUL, Afghanistan – Take pity on the Afghan bride. Or maybe just as appropriate – take pity on the groom. Centuries of pageantry and tradition combined with a recent 26-year high in gold prices are taking a toll on the amount of jewelry a bride here can expect to wear on her wedding day, a marker of family pride and a social expectation that can make or break a ceremony, a huge occasion in Afghanistan.Former head of small Mo. phone company gets 15 months in fraud case: KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In a government fraud case prosecutors linked to the mob, a judge on Friday sentenced the former president of a small rural Missouri telephone company to 15 months in prison for defrauding two federal program of $8.9 million. Kenneth Matzdorff admitted inflating expenses by millions of dollars to draw money from the Universal Services Administrative Co., which subsidizes rural phone companies, and the National Exchange Carriers Association, which collects and distributes money phone companies pay for using other companies’ systems.Prosecutors say he conspired in 1998 with brothers Richard T. and Daniel D. Martino, controlling owners of a business that owned Matzdorff’s Cass County Telephone, or CassTel.Vail, Colorado


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