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Business news briefs — July 11


Akron exports hit $3.8 billion

Businesses in the two-county Akron metro area exported slightly more than $3.8 billion in merchandise in 2012, according to the latest available federal figures.

Akron-area chemical manufacturers topped the list with $1.2 billion in exports, followed by plastics and rubber manufacturers at $1.04 billion; machinery manufacturers at $479.1 million; and transportation equipment manufacturers at $206.5 million. All others totaled $894.3 million. For statistical research, the Akron area is made up of Summit and Portage counties.

Top Akron-area trading partners included Canada and Mexico as well as the 21 Pacific Rim nations that make up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative, or APEC.

In 2012, U.S. companies exported a record $2.2 trillion in goods and services, said the International Trade Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

For more information, go online to or www. The U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Center in Akron can be reached at 330-678-0695.

Cash mob at Canton eatery

A cash mob is planned for local restaurant Thatsa Wrapp at 600 Sixth St. in Canton from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The cash mob concept is to bring a group of people together for one day to support a local, independent business.

Canton Idol winner Scenic Route will be performing at the restaurant from 11 a.m. to noon.


Microsoft plans to reorganize

Saying that Microsoft Corp. will be able to innovate “with greater speed, efficiency and capability,” Chief Executive Steve Ballmer unveiled a sweeping realignment of the software giant on Thursday that emphasizes services and devices more than at any time in the company’s history. Ballmer made the long-awaited announcement in an email to Microsoft employees, saying that the new “One Microsoft” strategy will focus on creating “a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses.”

“You don’t make massive, sweeping changes like this unless something is wrong,” said Colin Gillis, of BGC Partners. Gillis noted this week’s figures on second-quarter PC shipments, which showed a decline of 11.4 percent from a year ago — the fifth straight quarter of declining shipments and the longest duration of any such decline in the history of the PC market.


Mortgage rates inching up

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week to 4.51 percent, a two-year high. Rates have been rising on expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average on the 30-year loan jumped from 4.29 percent the previous week. Just two months ago, it was 3.35 percent — barely above the record low of 3.31 percent. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.53 percent from 3.39 percent last week. That’s the highest since August 2011.


S&P 500 closes at record high

The S&P 500 index jumped 22.40 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,675.02, surpassing its previous record close of 1,669 from May 21. The index rose for a sixth straight day, its longest streak in four months.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 169.26 points, or 1.1 percent, to 15,460.92, above its own all-time closing high of 15,409 set May 28. The Nasdaq composite rose 57.55 points, or 1.4 percent, to 3,578.30, its highest level in nearly 13 years. Progressive Corp. of Mayfield Village dropped 1.1 percent to $25.74, the worst performance in the 22-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Insurance Index. Second-quarter net income climbed to $324.6 million from $118.6 million, fueled by investment gains.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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