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Business news briefs — Jan. 2


All Archiver’s stores closing

Avid scrapbookers will lose a store dedicated to their hobby in mid-February when Archiver’s closes its 33 locations nationwide, including a store in Fairlawn.

The memory craft business announced its closure to customers on Thursday in a letter posted on its Facebook page.

A worker in the Fairlawn store said the location is closing Feb. 15. The store has about 15 employees.

In the letter, Archiver’s blamed the closure on “declining sales and mounting losses.”

“Over the past four to five years, the combination of a weak economy and new technology resulted in steady declines in memory craft business, significantly impacting Archiver’s and many other retailers and vendors in the craft industry,” the chain stated on Facebook.


Manufacturing growth seen

Manufacturing grew at a healthy pace in December as factories stepped up hiring and received more orders. The expansion suggests solid growth at the end of the year.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Thursday that its index of manufacturing activity slipped to 57 from 57.3 in November. But that’s still the second-highest reading in the past 2½ years. And any reading above 50 signals growth.

A measure of new orders rose to the highest level since April 2010. And a gauge of hiring increased to its highest level since June 2011. Production and a measure of manufacturers’ stockpiles fell.

“It is clear that growth remained strong at the end of last year and this should continue into 2014,” said Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics.

Overseas demand is growing, but at a much slower rate, the survey found. A gauge of export orders fell to 55 from 59.5.

Construction spending rises

Construction spending rose in November at the strongest pace in more than four years, driven by solid gains in home construction and commercial projects.

The Commerce Department said the increase of 1 percent in November translated to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $934.4 billion. That’s the fastest rate since March 2009 and a slight improvement on the revised 0.9 percent gain in October.

Residential construction rose 1.9 percent in November, after falling in October. Homebuilding last exceeded the November pace shortly before the 2008 financial crisis. Spending on single-family homes has increased 18.4 percent year over year, while spending on apartment buildings is up 36.3 percent during the same period.

Fixed mortgage rates tick up

Average interest rates for fixed mortgages edged higher this week for the third straight week but remained low by historical standards.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average for the 30-year loan rose to 4.53 percent from 4.48 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan increased to 3.55 percent from 3.52 percent.

Dow Jones drops 135 points

The S&P 500 dropped 16.38 points on the first day of 2014 trading, or 0.9 percent, to 1,831.98, its worst start to a year’s trading since Jan. 2, 2008, when the index slumped 1.4 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 135.31 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,441.35. The Nasdaq composite slid 33.52 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,143.07.

Energy stocks fell as the price of oil dropped $2.98, or 3 percent, to $95.44 a barrel. Oil slumped after reports that an end to protests at a major Libyan oil field could return 300,000 barrels of daily production to the global market.

Compiled from staff and wire reports



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