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Business news briefs — March 25

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LOCAL BUSINESS

Two programs on job search

Openings are available in two free programs for job seekers offered at the Hudson Library & Historical Society this week.

The program at 10 a.m. today will focus on resumes.

Diana Miller, founder and executive director of the area Community Job Club, will give a talk titled Is the Resume Dead? The Community Job Club is a nonprofit career management organization.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, David Feinerman will present Energize Your Job Search. Feinerman will talk about career exploration. Feinerman is manager of talent acquisition and employment at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Fair Finance hearing held

Tuesday’s monthly Fair Finance Co. status hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Akron lasted less than 10 minutes. The monthly report, prepared by Trustee Brian Bash, offered detailed history but little new information, Judge Marilyn Shea-Stonum said. “I appreciate the detail that went into the report,” she said.

Bash and Shea-Stonum briefly discussed related litigation in the $200 million fraud and bankruptcy case. Bash’s March report can be read in its entirety at http://www.kccllc.net/fairfinance.

Shea-Stonum is preparing to retire May 1. She said she is working to provide “transitional information” for her successor on cases, including Fair Finance.

Shea-Stonum said she wants to review Bash’s time records in the years-long case.

ECONOMY

Consumer confidence rises

Consumer confidence has rebounded to the highest reading in six years, providing a further sign that the economy’s prospects should brighten with warmer weather.

The Conference Board said its confidence index rose to 82.3 this month from a February reading of 78.3. It was the strongest reading since the index stood at 87.3 in January 2008, just as the Great Recession was beginning.

Dow Jones gains 91 points

The S&P 500 rose 8.18 points to 1,865.62. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 91.19 points to 16,367.88. The Nasdaq composite gained 7.88 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,234.27.

Nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 ended the day higher.

MEDIA

Verizon to add Ohio jobs

Verizon Wireless said it will add 250 full-time jobs statewide — at least 200 of them in central Ohio — before the end of June. The jobs cover a wide range of functions, Verizon officials said, and include customer service, retail sales, business and government customer operations, and network and information technology. Verizon already employs 4,247 people across the state.

The moves are in response to “the new battleground” in wireless, said technology industry analyst Jeff Kagan.

EARNINGS

Walgreen plans 76 closings

Walgreen Co. said Tuesday it plans to close 76 stores in the second half of its fiscal year “to optimize the company’s asset base.” The company said in a statement that the locations of the stores to close “will be disclosed as each closing occurs.”

The 76 stores represent a small slice of the Deerfield, Ill., company’s total of 8,210 stores. It’s also a big shift from its previous growth strategy, which focused on opening locations to maximize convenience for its customers.

The store closings were revealed in a news release about the company’s earnings. Walgreen said its revenue managed to grow 5 percent in its fiscal quarter despite severe weather that tends to keep customers away.

Overall, the nation’s largest drugstore chain earned $754 million, or 78 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Feb. 28. That’s down from $756 million, or 79 cents per share, a year ago. Adjusted earnings were 91 cents per share. Analysts expected 93 cents per share, according to researcher FactSet. The company’s revenue rose to $19.61 billion from $18.65 billion a year ago and matched Wall Street expectations.

Walgreen said the stores are all over the country, with 17 to be closed in a 13-state Midwest region that includes Ohio. “To put that in perspective, Ohio alone has more than 250 Walgreens drugstores at present,” the company said.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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