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Deere's Bountiful Harvest; Dupont Teams Up with Danisco; Miller Takes Over Grolsch Distribution; China Quake May Pause Interest Rate Hike; Aluminum Corp. of China May Nab BHP Stake; Whole Food Drops on Disappointing Sales Gain; Food Costs Sink Jack in the Box; Freddie Mac Gets Creative with the Books
- Deere & Co. (DE), the world's biggest maker of farm machinery, said yesterday (Wednesday) that its second-quarter profit rose 22%, mostly due to a jump in overseas sales. However, , the Associated Press reported. Profit for the period ended April 30 reached $763.5 million, or $1.74 per share, up from $623.6 million, or $1.36 per share, last year.
- E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. (DD) – commonly known as DuPont – said yesterday (Wednesday) that it would form a new joint venture with Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S, to develop and commercialize cellulosic ethanol, or fuel derived from nonfood sources. , the Associated Press reported.
- SABMiller Brewing PLC (SBMRY) said yesterday (Wednesday) that it would buy the rights from rival Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. (BUD) to distribute Grolsch beer in the United States, the Associated Press reported. Anheuser-Busch acquired distribution rights to the Dutch beer in February 2006, but SABMiller took over Royal Grolsch NV this past February for $1.2 billion.
- As China recovers from the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake, some economists say the government is less inclined to raise interest rates in the near future, despite widespread inflation. "In the coming months there will be no rate hikes," Ting Lu, an economist at Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER) in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg. "During a natural disaster policy makers will be very careful not to use aggressive policy tools."
- Shares of BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) rose yesterday (Wednesday) amid speculation that Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (ACH) is interested in acquiring a stake in the world's biggest mining company, Bloomberg reported. If it happens, it could add an interesting twist to BHP's $178 billion hostile offer for rival Rio Tinto plc (RTP), as Aluminum Corp. of China recently purchased a stake in Rio in February.
- Whole Foods Markets Inc. (WFMI) shares dropped 14% yesterday (Wednesday) when the high-end food retailer reported that same-store sales open for a year or more only increased 6.7%. The once-popular food chain has been hard hit as consumers seek out bargains to make the weak dollar stretch farther. Whole Foods shares shed $4.68 to close at $28.96.
- Higher food and packaging costs took a big bite out of Jack in the Box Inc.'s (JBX) bottom-line. Same-store sales dropped 0.1% for the San Diego-based fast food chain in its fiscal second quarter. Shares dropped over 10%, with a decline of $2.90, to close at $24.87 yesterday (Wednesday).
- Shares of U.S. mortgage giant Freddie Mac (FRE) gained more than 9% yesterday (Wednesday) after the firm announced a smaller loss due to accounting changes that reduced charges by $2.6 billion. Freddie Mac shares gained $2.29 to close at $27.25.