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Around the business world

Daily Staff Report

Fast growing ethanol industry could face oversupply in as little as 2 years, analysts say: SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – VeraSun’s debut on Wall Street showed investors’ early excitement about ethanol, but some analysts say the burgeoning industry faces long-term risks from oversupply, volatile commodity prices and a dependence on government subsidies. The nation’s 97 ethanol plants are producing about 4.5 billion gallons of the corn-based fuel per year, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, and another 33 plants under construction would boost annual capacity to 6.4 billion gallons in a few years. Daniel Welt, a Standard and Poor’s credit analyst in New York, said the industry’s quick expansion will push capacity beyond base demand by 2008.Plaintiffs allege Merck tried to ‘neutralize’ doctors who didn’t like Vioxx: TRENTON – Doctors who had safety concerns about Vioxx or prescribed other painkillers were obstacles to be neutralized by a slick marketing team, according to a comical training video for Merck & Co. sales representatives shown by the plaintiff’s lawyers in the latest product liability trial over the since-withdrawn Vioxx.Calif. woman’s identity stolen by dozens of suspected illegal immigrants: DUBLIN, Calif. – Dozens of people in 17 states – most likely illegal immigrants – have used Audra Schmierer’s Social Security number to get work. Personal information is increasingly being stolen and federal authorities are doing little to catch the culprits.Generic Zocor expected to challenge Lipitor’s market lead: NEW YORK – June 23 will be awful for Merck & Co., when it will lose patent protection on cholesterol-lowering agent Zocor, which racked $4.4 billion in revenue last year. What’s unclear is the destiny of Pfizer’s Lipitor, the world’s best selling drug which controls nearly 55 percent of the $16 billion U.S. cholesterol market. Pfizer risks losing a chunk of Lipitor’s $12.2 billion in sales because some patients on the low doses of the product can take a high dose of Zocor.Carnival profits slip: NEW YORK – Higher fuel costs and a sluggish Caribbean cruise market combined to reduce second-quarter profit 2 percent at Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator reported. Winnebago profits take a hit: CHICAGO – Recreational vehicle manufacturer Winnebago Industries Inc. reported a third-quarter drop in earnings from a year ago as slow demand for motor homes and a trend toward lower priced units continues to affect the industry.Florida crash aftermath sparks new debate about aging commercial aircraft: MIAMI – The crash six months ago of a vintage Chalk’s Ocean Airways seaplane has reopened debate about how to best protect the flying public in an aging U.S. commercial airlines fleet. Aviation experts say the crash shows that much more needs to be done to assure that older passenger planes are safe.Getting back to normal after storms hinges on businesses getting going: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A big part of dealing with the effects of a hurricane depends not on the government, but on private businesses. Many businesses note the faster they’re up and running, the sooner they can start making money again. With the new hurricane season already underway, many companies and industries say they’re better prepared.B-school professors rethinking how to teach ethics classes: BOULDER – Last fall, Bentley College management professor Tony Buono taught a class on corporate scandals with colleagues pitching in from finance, accounting and even the philosophy department. The four picked through the cases of Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and Shell. At the end of the semester, the number of students in a simulated trading room who were caught in misconduct or misusing information for insider trading was significantly higher than at the beginning. The students said, “You taught us how to do it,” Buono recalled.Wimbledon tradition infiltrated by America’s Ralph Lauren: LONDON – Wimbledon’s strict dress code banning color and flashy corporate logos has made the tournament a bastion of tradition for more than a century. But the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club finally have been infiltrated – by Polo, a U.S. fashion house, no less.Stocks slip after two days of dramatic gains: NEW YORK – Stocks were modestly lower at the end of a week of zigzag trading that saw stocks sell off early in the week then rebound sharply. Traders paused after a two-session rally undid weeks of down trading that had erased the gains in the major indexes for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 110 points Wednesday and nearly 200 points Thursday. It was the index’s best two-day run since April 2003.Oil prices fall slightly: NEW YORK – Crude prices fell after good news about supply from the United States and Russia and lack of negative news from global tension points brought prices down from brief highs over $70.Estate taxes back on the agenda: WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist asks the House for help in reducing taxes on inherited estates, conceding that Republicans cannot repeal them entirely this year. The emerging market meltdown hits home: NEW YORK – Thought things on Wall Street were bad? Foreign investors pulled $2.7 billion out of Indian stocks in May. The Bogota stock exchange saw a 10.5 percent drop Monday. Argentine stocks last week hit a six-month low. Emerging markets have had a great run in recent years, attracting record inflows from U.S. investors. Now the question is whether the emerging bull run is ending. Some are even comparing emerging markets to stocks in the tech bubble.Gates to move on as software industry competition heats up: REDMOND, Wash. – Bill Gates’ decision to give up day-to-day responsibilities at Microsoft Corp. puts more pressure on Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie and other executives to tackle a huge job – figuring out Microsoft’s place in an industry increasingly focused on the type of Internet-based services championed by Google Inc. and others.iPods helping Rockies get into the ‘swing’ of things: DENVER – Three hours before a recent start against Florida, Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Jennings sat down in front of his locker, put on his head phones and stared at his video iPod. Jennings wasn’t watching the latest Coldplay video or catching up on an episode of “Alias” as a way to relax before the game. Jennings was doing some last-minute cramming. The Rockies’ video staff had downloaded every Marlins hitter into his iPod, and Jennings was studying up on how to pitch to them.Vail, Colorado


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