FirstEnergy to release report
FirstEnergy Corp. said its second-quarter earnings will be released Tuesday before markets open. Results will be discussed by FirstEnergy managers during a conference call with financial analysts at 1 p.m. A question-and-answer session will follow.
Investors, customers and other interested parties can listen to a live webcast of the call via FirstEnergy’s Investor Information website, www.firstenergycorp.com/ir. The webcast also will be archived on the site.
Diebold declares dividend
Diebold Inc. declared a third-quarter cash dividend of 28.75 cents per share, payable Sept. 13 to shareholders of record Aug. 23.
Library program on fracking
The Green branch of Akron-Summit County Public Library announced a program on fracking will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12.
Rhonda Reda, executive director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, will talk about the technology, education and jobs involved in exploring, drilling and producing oil and gas.
The Green branch is at 4046 Massillon Road. The phone is 330-896-9074.
Mortgage rates increase
Average interest rates on fixed mortgages ticked up this week but are still low by historical standards, a trend that has helped the housing market recover.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average on the 30-year loan rose to 4.39 percent from 4.31 percent last week. Rates are a full percentage point higher than in early May.
The average on the 15-year fixed loan increased to 3.43 percent from 3.39 percent last week.
Rates spiked in June after the Federal Reserve indicated it could slow its bond purchases later this year, which have kept long-term interest rates low.
Construction spending falls
Spending on U.S. construction projects fell in June by the largest amount in five months as government building activity declined to the lowest level since 2006. Even housing activity slowed but that setback was likely to be temporary.
Construction spending dropped 0.6 percent in June compared with May when spending had surged 1.3 percent, the Commerce Department reported. It was the biggest decline since a 2.3 percent drop in January.
Housing construction was flat during the month with a gain in remodeling offsetting declines of 0.8 percent in single-family construction and a fall of 3.3 percent in multifamily projects. Residential construction has been a bright spot in a sluggish economy this year and that strength was expected to continue even though mortgage rates have risen from their lows. Total construction stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $883.9 billion in June, 3.3 percent above the level of a year ago.
Manufacturing index higher
Factory activity expanded in July at the fastest pace in two years, fueled by surges in new orders, production and hiring The gains show manufacturing is rebounding and should provide a spark to growth in the coming months.
The Institute for Supply Management said its index of factory activity jumped to 55.4 in July, up from 50.9 in June. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
A measure of employment rose to its best level in a year, an encouraging sign. And a gauge of production soared 11.6 points to 65, the highest since May 2004.
Regulators block AEP plan
American Electric Power has hit a roadblock in its attempt to transfer a power plant from its Ohio subsidiary to one based in West Virginia. Regulators in Virginia rejected AEP’s plan to shift 50 percent of the coal-fired Mitchell plant, saying that the Columbus-based utility had overvalued the asset and also raising concerns that Virginia would be over-relying on coal power.
At the same time, Virginia approved other parts of AEP’s proposal, including the transfer of the AEP Ohio-owned portion of the John E. Amos plant. This is the first major hitch in a complicated transition for AEP, necessitated by Ohio regulators’ push to make the power plants compete on the open market. In response, AEP took steps last year to transfer the two plants, which are located in West Virginia but owned by AEP Ohio, in order to put them in a jurisdiction that does not have an open market for power generation.
Compiled from staff and wire reports