Hammond Lumber buys Dexter Supply in Wilton

Hammond Lumber announced Monday that it has bought Dexter Supply, a locally owned hardware and lumber business in Wilton.

The acquisition brings to 13 the number of Hammond Lumber retail locations in Maine. The Wilton location – where an employee answered the phone Tuesday saying “Hammond Lumber” – is five miles from Hammond Lumber’s store in Farmington. Kelly Dexter, the former owner of the Wilton location, did not return a message seeking comment.

Hammond Lumber is interviewing Dexter Supply employees who want to continue working at the store.

McDonald’s sales drop as customers stay away

McDonald’s is fighting to hold on to customers in the U.S.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain said sales at established U.S. locations fell 1.7 percent in the first three months of the year as guest counts declined. After a decade of consistent growth, sales also declined last year as McDonald’s struggled to roll out an array of new menu items and fend off competitors.

While acknowledging that McDonald’s continues to face numerous challenges, CEO Don Thompson stressed that the decline in U.S. guest counts in the latest quarter was largely the result of severe weather. Last week, however, Chipotle said its sales rose 13.4 percent on stronger customer traffic.

Earnings drive markets to sixth straight gains

Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

Stocks are rebounding from a slump earlier this month when investors dumped high-flying biotechnology and Internet stocks.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 7.66 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,879.55. The six consecutive gains in the index marks the longest winning streak since September.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 65.12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,514.37. The Nasdaq composite gained 39.91 points, or 1 percent, to 4,161.46.

Comcast reports 30 percent revenue surge

Comcast said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income rose by 30 percent as ad revenue surged at broadcast network NBC, helped by the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Jimmy Fallon’s elevation as host of “The Tonight Show.”

The results beat Wall Street estimates and its shares edged up in morning trading.

Comcast is the largest cable company in the country with 22 million video customers and 21.1 Internet customers. It is in the midst of an expected yearlong review of its $45 billion acquisition of No. 2 rival Time Warner Cable Inc.

– From staff and news services