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Around the business world

Daily Staff Report

Existing home sales drop in July to lowest level since January 2004: WASHINGTON – Sales of previously owned homes plunged in July to the lowest level in two and a half years and the inventory of unsold homes climbed to a new record high, fresh signs that the housing market has lost steam.Stocks slump on bad home sales reports: NEW YORK – Stocks fell for a third straight day after a report of slumping home sales raised concerns that the economy has slowed too much. Oil prices drop as Iran nuke negotiations continue: NEW YORK – Oil prices dropped as traders locked in profits after Iran offered to continue negotiations on its nuclear program.Another headache for Detroit: Buyers postponing purchases of pickups: Times are a little too slow in most businesses to buy new pickup trucks right now. Much to the detriment of Detroit’s Big Three, people are delaying truck purchases, cutting into automakers’ profits and forcing them to temporarily shut down factories.Weyerhaeuser to combine fine-paper business with Domtar in $3.3 billion deal: SEATTLE- Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the nation’s largest forest product companies, agreed to combine its fine paper business with Canadian paper maker Domtar Inc. in a cash and stock transaction valued at $3.3 billion.Cruise’s breakup with Paramount a sign of shifting Hollywood landscape: LOS ANGELES – The ugly divorce between Tom Cruise and Paramount Pictures is a sign of the new, cost-conscious Hollywood. Studios that once ignored off-screen antics are now cracking down, paying stars less up front and requiring higher profits. Talk of a global allliance pushhes Ford stock upward: DETROIT – Shares of Ford Motor Co. surged more than 4 percent, following a report that Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford had approached Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn about joining the global alliance.Vioxx’s successor is struggling: NEW YORK – Merck & Co. said a preliminary analysis of trial data of its successor drug to Vioxx showed it didn’t increase patients’ risk of cardiovascular events, but more individuals taking the medicine, Arcoxia, withdrew from the study because of other problems such as high blood pressure.Tata Group buying into vitamin water company: NEW YORK – India’s Tata Group, maker of Tetley Tea and Eight O’Clock Coffee, plans to buy a 30 percent stake in Vitaminwater maker Glaceau for $677 million.NextWave returns as one of the leading bidders in airwaves auction: WASHINGTON – The last time a company run by Allen B. Salmasi was a top bidder in a government airwaves auction, it took eight years and the Supreme Court to unravel the mess that followed. Now he’s back. Salmasi controls AWS Wireless Inc., one of the leading bidders in the airwaves auction currently under way. Time to think different about Macs, again: NEW YORK – For years, Macintosh computers have been praised for their cool looks and elegant simplicity while being knocked for carrying a hefty price premium over Windows-based machines. It’s time to think different. Again. The recently released Mac Pro computer manages to maintain the Apple shine in design, usability and software but also does something completely unexpected: It turns the old Mac versus Windows PC price equation on its head.Stem cell company trying to raise private funding: WASHINGTON – Pioneering stem cell company Advanced Cell Technology Inc. is again attempting to raise cash to pay its bills and keep funding research projects that include plans to clone human embryos.IBM splurging to buy securityy compamy: NEW YORK – IBM Corp. will spend $1.3 billion in cash to acquire Internet Security Systems Inc., which performs network monitoring and analysis service for companies.Chevon among companies doing business with shunned Myanmar: BANGKOK, Thailand – Governments both East and West are often critical of Myanmar’s human rights abuses, but the country’s energy production is rising, and nations are quietly doing lucrative business with its junta leaders. Although the U.S. leads the chorus of criticism and has slapped economic sanctions on the country, giant oil company Chevron and an upscale tourist operator are among American enterprises doing business in the Southeast Asian nation.South American exporters still unsure about U.S. tariffs: BOGOTA, Colombia – Major exporters from Peru and Colombia fear being blindsided by tariffs on key exports to the U.S. unless trade preferences designed to wean the Andean nations off cocaine production are renewed. Trade negotiators say the White House refuses to push free trade deals ahead of congressional elections. It’s a test of Washington’s leadership in a region where trade deals that lock in subsidies for U.S. farmers have been sharply criticized as one-sided.Nestle profits up 11 percent: BERNE, Switzerland – Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food and drink company, reported an 11 percent rise in first-half net profit thanks to cost cutting and internal growth despite higher raw material prices.Surging metals prices boost BHP Billiton earnings: MELBOURNE, Australia – Mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. said its annual net profit surged 63 percent thanks to soaring metal prices and insatiable demand from China. Record annual production volumes of aluminum, copper, iron ore, nickel and natural gas lifted earnings, the Anglo-Australian company said.Ban stands for Coke, Pepsi in parts of India: NEW DELHI, India – Several Indian states insisted they would continue to ban the sale of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo soft drinks even though the federal Health Ministry dismissed allegations that the beverages contained pesticide residues.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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