Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Markets

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Markets

Article excerpt

Today

Business barometer Economists anticipate that a gauge of business activity edged higher this month. The Institute for Supply Management releases today its latest Chicago business barometer index. This months reading is projected to have risen to 52. It declined the previous two months. A year ago, the index stood at 47.8. A reading above 50 indicates economic activity is growing. Readings below 50 indicate the economy is contracting.

Getting spicy A couple of acquisitions are helping to boost revenue for spice and seasoning company McCormick & Co. The company behind Lowrys Seasoned Salt has grown sales sharply this year, thanks in part to its takeover of botanical food company Gourmet Garden in April and barbeque sauce maker One World Foods a year ago. Still, McCormick has had to shoulder acquisition-related expenses. Hows that affecting the bottom line? Find out today, when McCormick serves up its latest quarterly earnings.

Oil and gas tracker Oilfield services company Baker Hughes issues today its latest weekly tally of U.S. oil and natural gas rigs. Last week, the number of rigs increased by five to 511, with 418 rigs exploring for oil and 92 seeking natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 838 rigs were active. Depressed energy prices have sharply curtailed oil and gas exploration. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May at 404.

Pick 'em Yes, its possible to beat the market. The trick, for investors, is whether they can pick who will do it. Much of the mutual-fund industry is built on the premise that a savvy stock manager can deftly pick which stocks will do better than market indexes, either by rising more during good times or falling less during downturns. managers also charge than plain index funds, pay managers salaries for research and analysis. What makes it tricky for investors is that theyd have a better chance of rolling a seven at the craps table than finding a manager who beats the index over the long term. …

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