Lewiston distillery to close with loss of about 160 jobs

LEWISTON – A vodka and rum distillery owned by the maker of Jim Beam bourbon is closing down and eliminating about 160 jobs.

Beam Inc. announced Thursday that production at its Lewiston plant will be phased out over the next year and operations moved to Frankfort, Ky. The transition is expected to be complete in April 2014.

The Lewiston plant makes Pinnacle vodka and Calico Jack rum.

The Maine plant’s 160 employees were told of the decision Thursday. Some will be given the opportunity to apply for jobs in Kentucky.

Beam officials told the Sun Journal the decision was made in the interests of efficiency and cost savings.

Beam bought the former White Rock Distilleries in Lewiston last year for $605 million.

Hostess will unveil bidder for Drake’s cakes next week

NEW YORK – Hostess says it expects to unveil a bidder for Drake’s snack cakes next week, although the fate of Twinkies is still being negotiated.

Drake’s cakes, which include Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels, are among the brands Hostess is selling after announcing in November that it was shutting down its business.

Earlier this month, Hostess Brands Inc. filed bids by Tastykakes maker Flowers Foods Inc. to buy six of its bread brands, including Wonder, for $390 million. The former Hostess bakery in Biddeford could be a part of that deal.

Hostess, which is based in Irving, Texas, is filing bids for its popular brands in stages. These “stalking horse bids” set a floor for an auction process that lets rivals make better offers. The final sale must be approved by a judge in bankruptcy court.

S&P 500 closes above 1,500 first time since late 2007

NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose Friday, lifting the S&P 500 index to its first finish above 1,500 since late 2007, on improving profit from Procter & Gamble Co. and other quarterly results.

The S&P 500’s close above the psychologically important level could bring hesitant investors back into the market, strategists said.

Up for an eighth consecutive session and notching its longest win streak since the nine-day run that ended in early November 2004, the S&P 500 rose 8.14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,502.96, leaving it up 1.1 percent for the week.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 70.65 points, or 0.5 percent, to 13,895.98, up 1.8 percent from the week-ago close.

The Nasdaq composite index advanced 19.33 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,149.71, a level that has it 0.5 percent higher for the week.

On Friday, Apple Inc. shares fell 2.4 percent, continuing their decline, with the company falling to second behind Exxon Mobil Corp. in market capitalization.

Stock indexes only briefly curbed their gains Friday after the Commerce Department reported that the nation’s sales of new homes fell 7.3 percent in December.

Shares in the home-building sector traded mostly higher for the day, however.

— From news service reports

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