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Business news briefs — July 8


Tire labor talks resume

The United Steelworkers and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. have resumed contract negotiations in Cincinnati following a Fourth of July holiday break.

“Talks will continue to focus on significant topics such as pension, benefits, wages and other issues of importance to both sides,” Goodyear said in a short public update online at the site Goodyear employs about 8,000 Steelworkers at six plants in the U.S., including one in Akron that makes NASCAR race tires.

The Steelworkers union also is negotiating with Bridgestone Americas and Michelin at other locations. Current contracts with the three tire makers expire on July 27.

Workers at Bridgestone Americas make products including Firestone brand tires. Uniroyal and BFGoodrich brand tires are produced by Michelin-owned factories.

Bridgestone picks agency

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations in Nashville has a new creative advertising and marketing agency, Publicis Dallas.

Terms were not disclosed. Publicis Dallas succeeds the Richards Group as the tire company’s strategic and creative agency. Bridgestone will continue to work with Haymarket, which is the sports marketing arm of the Richards Group.

Publicis Dallas will focus on brand building and advertising for the Bridgestone brand. The Dallas-based firm is part of Paris-based Publicis Groupe S.A. Publicis Dallas clients include CiCi’s Pizza; Nestlé brands Nestlé Pure Life, Nestea and Juicy Juice; Simon Property Group; and ServiceMaster brands TruGreen and Terminix. Simon Property Group’s operations include Summit Mall in Fairlawn.

The Richards Group had worked with Bridgestone for seven years.


Bigger stake for Fiat

Italian automaker Fiat has exercised a third option to buy a small amount of Chrysler stock, but the sale won’t go through until a U.S. court settles a dispute over the price.

Fiat said it offered $254.7 million for another 3.3 percent of Chrysler’s outstanding equity.

Fiat already owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, with the remaining 41.5 percent held by a trust that pays medical bills for retired United Auto Workers union members. The Italian company wants to buy all of the trust’s stock and fully merge Chrysler and Fiat.

The price on the options will be settled by a judge in Delaware and the ruling is likely to set the price for the trust’s remaining Chrysler stake. For several months, Fiat has been trying to arrange financing to buy the trust’s stock. Fiat expects a court ruling sometime this month.

Morgan Stanley, in a Friday note to investors, estimated that it would cost Fiat $2 billion to $5 billion to buy the trust’s entire stake. The options are part of the deal in which Fiat and Sergio Marchionne were appointed to manage Chrysler in 2009 by the U.S. government.


Early data discontinued

Thomson Reuters Corp. will suspend the early release of a consumer survey to select traders as part of an agreement with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which is probing the matter. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating whether release of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment to some customers is a violation of state securities laws. The survey measures consumer attitudes and expectations about the economy and is a closely watched gauge in financial markets. Some Thomson Reuters subscribers receive the data two seconds early, giving them a jump on other market traders, while other customers see it five minutes ahead of the public release, according to a former employee’s lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan.


Dow rises nearly 89 points

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 88.85 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 15,224.69 on Monday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 climbed 8.57 points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 1,640.46. The Nasdaq composite was up 5.45 points, or 0.2 percent, at 3,484.83.

Alcoa began the second-quarter earnings season by saying its loss widened due to weak aluminum prices, although the results are better than expected after backing out of restructuring and legal costs. Alcoa, which has Barberton operations, lost $119 million, or 11 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $2 million, or break-even on a per-share basis, a year ago.

Excluding special items such as restructuring expenses, Alcoa says it would have earned 7 cents per share, a penny more than analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Small-company stocks, which do best when investors are confident about economic growth, hit a milestone. The Russell 2000 index closed at an all-time high of 1,009.25.

Compiled from staff and wire reports



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