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Business

  • Stockings full of bargains
    Even though it’s still summer and Christmas is more than three months away, retailers – worried by dismal second-quarter earnings and desperate to attract shoppers – are gearing up for a holiday season ­expected to
  • Avon quitstrade groupover bylaws
    Avon Products is leaving the trade association it helped found more than a century ago, writing in a letter to other member companies this month that the group’s bylaws might not adequately protect consumers from fraud.
  • week ahead
    Today• National Association of Realtors reports existing home sales for AugustWednesday• Commerce Department reports new home sales in AugustThursday• Labor Department reports
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Briefs

Tyson bids $6.2 billion for Hillshire

Hillshire Brands is at the center of a barnyard brawl.

Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat processor, on Thursday made a $6.2 billion offer for the maker Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs, topping a bid made two days earlier by rival poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride. Based in Greeley, Colorado, Pilgrim’s Pride is owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS.

The takeover bids for Hillshire by the two major meat processors are being driven by the desirability of brand-name processed products like Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches. The convenience foods are more profitable than fresh meat, such as chicken breasts, where there isn’t as much wiggle room to pad prices.

Documents affirm delayed GM recall

General Motors recalled a small number of Pontiac G6 midsize cars to fix a faulty brake light system in 2009, yet waited more than five years to call back more than 2 million other cars with the same system, according to company documents filed with federal safety regulators.

The documents, filed Thursday, show that GM recalled about 8,000 Pontiacs from the 2005 and 2006 model years because the brake lights might not work when the driver stepped on the brake pedal. But the company didn’t recall later-model G6s or the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura until three weeks ago. The cars are nearly identical.

GM says the problem has caused 13 accidents and two injuries. GM thought the addition of a lubricant would fix the problem in newer cars, but it proved insufficient. Dealers were made aware of the problem, but car owners weren’t told directly. As a result, a potential safety problem went uncorrected for years.

Contracts to buy homes up slightly

More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in April than the prior month. But the pace of buying is still weaker than last year, as higher prices and relatively tight supplies have limited sales.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 0.4 percent to 97.8 last month. The index remains 9.2 percent below its level a year ago.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale. The index indicates that home buying has barely increased in May.

The gain in signed contracts partly reflects the slight decline in mortgage rates and the economic rebound from the brutal winter. But prices have risen by 12.4 percent year-over-year, according to Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index.

Ford orders recall of 1.4 million SUVs, cars

Ford is recalling 1.4 million SUVs and cars in North America to fix steering, rust and floor mat problems.

The recalls come as automobile safety is being watched closely by Congress, the Justice Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All are investigating General Motors’ delayed recall of small cars for ignition switch problems. Also, officials recently fined Toyota $1.2 billion for hiding information from government safety regulators.

In the largest of the Ford recalls Thursday, the company is calling back 915,000 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner small SUVs to fix a problem with a torque sensor within the steering column.

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