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Business news briefs — Aug. 5

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LOCAL BUSINESS

Myers sets dividend

Myers Industries Inc. declared a regular quarterly dividend of 9 cents per share payable Oct. 7 to shareholders of record Sept. 6.

Interstate pays dividend

Richfield-based specialty insurer National Interstate Corp. has approved a quarterly dividend of 11 cents per share payable Sept. 9 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 23.

RETAIL

Kraft exec moves to Penney

J.C. Penney Co. tapped a Kraft Foods executive as its new marketing chief to help revitalize the struggling brand and reconnect with its shoppers.

The Plano, Texas-based chain said Debra Berman will be senior vice president of marketing. She will join the company’s executive board and report to CEO Mike Ullman III.

Ullman returned to Penney in April after the board fired former CEO Ron Johnson. Johnson spearheaded a transformation plan that led to plummeting sales and massive losses. Ullman has been assembling a new management team. Berman served as vice president, marketing strategy and directed global brand strategy for all Kraft-owned brands.

media

Newsweek is sold again

Newsweek is being sold for the second time in just a few years. The owner of the International Business Times said it’s buying what is now an online-only brand for an undisclosed sum from IAC/InterActiveCorp. The publication, which once had a fierce rivalry with Time magazine, ran its last print edition at the end of 2012.

Newsweek had been struggling for years when the Washington Post Co. sold it for $1 in 2010 to stereo equipment magnate Sidney Harman, who died the following year. Before he died, Harman placed Newsweek into a joint venture with IAC’s the Daily Beast website, a move intended to help widen its online audience.

IBT Media said the purchase doesn’t include the Daily Beast. The company said Newsweek will return to the www.newsweek.com site in the coming weeks. IBT was founded in 2006 and owns online publications including Medical Daily, Latin Times and iDigitalTimes.

IAC/InterActiveCorp., based in New York, is a media and Internet company with brands including Ask.com, About.com and Match.com.

food

Return of Hostess products

Twinkies are already back on shelves and now the new owners of Drake’s cakes say Coffee Cakes, Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Yodels will return next month.

A spokesman for McKee Foods Corp. said the company plans to bring back the snack cakes in the third week of September. The company is still deciding whether to bring back Funny Bones.

McKee, which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, snapped up Drake’s cakes from rival Hostess Brands after the company went out of business last year. Twinkies, CupCakes and other snacks were purchased by a pair of investment firms, Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., which owns Pabst beer.

McKee also makes a number of snack cakes that competed with Hostess. For example, its Devil Cremes look a lot like Devil Dogs and its Swiss Rolls resemble Yodels. But McKee spokesman Mike Gloekler said the company doesn’t have any plans to phase out any products yet.

Gloekler said distribution for Drake’s cakes will be in the same northeast markets where they were previously sold. McKee is using its own baking plants to make Drake’s but says no changes will be made to cakes.

WALL STREET

Indexes see drop

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 2.53 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,707.14 on Monday. Utilities led eight of the 10 industry groups in the index lower. Technology and consumer-staples companies eked out gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 46.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,612.13.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 3.36 points, or 0.09 percent, to 3,692.95.

Apple, the biggest company in the Nasdaq, rose after news that President Barack Obama’s administration prevented a ban on imports of some iPhones and iPads. Apple gained $6.91, or 1 percent, to $469.45.

Berkshire Hathaway crept higher on the first day of trading after its earnings report. Warren Buffett’s conglomerate posted a 46 percent rise in profit late Friday, easily beating Wall Street’s estimates. Berkshire reported big paper gains on higher earnings from its BNSF railroad. Shares edged up 41 cents to $118.23. Gold fell $8.10 to $1,302.40 an ounce and oil fell 38 cents to $106.50 a barrel.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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