November 4, 2011

Business Briefcase

Suit over paper shipment 'regrettable,' says CFO

PORTLAND – MaineToday Media's chief financial officer said it's regrettable that a supplier resorted to court action to resolve a dispute over shipments of specialty paper used for advertisements.

"We're working cooperatively with many suppliers as we restructure business operations here at MaineToday Media," Patrick Sweeney said Thursday.

North Carolina-based McGrann Paper Corp. alleges that MaineToday will not pay for or return more than 305,000 pounds of paper worth over $124,000 that was shipped in August and September, according to the complaint filed in Cumberland County Superior Court this week.

In an affidavit, McGrann Chief Operating Officer Adam McGrann claimed that MaineToday was purposely stockpiling paper, knowing it could not pay for it, to deal with its short-term production needs while the company tries to restructure.

MaineToday Media publishes The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, Coastal Journal and related websites.

Stocks rise on scuttled vote, jobless news, interest rate cut

NEW YORK – News that Greece will scrap a referendum on unpopular budget cuts and an unexpected interest-rate cut in Europe sent the Dow Jones industrial average up nearly 210 points Thursday, the second day in a row of big gains.

The European Central Bank surprised markets by cutting its benchmark interest rate a quarter of a percentage point, to 1.25 percent. The announcement sent European stock indexes higher as investors hoped that lowering borrowing costs would help prevent a recession.

Buying intensified in the early afternoon after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou abandoned his effort to put a package of austerity measures to a public vote. A "no" vote could have caused chaos in the European financial system by leading to a messy default on Greece's debt.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 208.43 points, or 1.8 percent, to 12,044.47. The S&P 500 rose 23.25, or 1.9 percent, to 1,261.15. The Nasdaq composite added 57.99, or 2.2 percent, to 2,697.97.

Reports on the U.S. economy also lifted stocks. The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week dipped to the lowest level in five weeks. Companies also made more orders to U.S. factories in September.

EPA to probe fracking's effect on water supplies

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency is set to start a federal probe into whether the controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing is spoiling and diminishing drinking water supplies.

The agency's final study plan was released Thursday. The research will look at where companies performing hydraulic fracturing get their water and how much they use. It will also try to pinpoint the cause of alleged water contamination – looking at above-ground spills, well design and the fracturing process itself. The first results will be available in 2012.

Meanwhile, the agency has taken steps to boost regulation of so-called fracking, which is the injection of water and chemicals underground to extract natural gas trapped in rock.

The EPA will examine drilling sites in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Louisiana, Texas and Colorado.

– From news service reports

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