Execs grow more confident
WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) - Executives' confidence in the economy
rose for the fifth time in six months in May, fueled by expectations
of stronger sales and higher inventories, a survey released Monday
shows. The Cahners Business Confidence Index climbed to 67.4 this
month, up from 66.7 in April.
For the second straight month, the 400 manufacturing and
construction industry executives who responded to the survey appeared
upbeat about business prospects that range from hiring workers to
rolling out new products. "We can expect continued and moderate
growth through the summer," the report said.
Four of the seven business components that make up the index
increased in May. Executives said they anticipated rising production
and sales, higher inventories, improved employment conditions and
research and development advances. A month ago, executives were
also upbeat about economic conditions, though they foresaw declining
Meanwhile, three other index components declined for the month:
product introduction, spending on marketing and spending on capital
For each segment of the index, scores are computed as the sum of
the proportion of respondents indicating that activity will increase,
plus 50 percent of the proportion reporting no change. The overall
Cahners index is the average score of the seven segments.
This month, Cahners also asked executives which region of the
world would offer the best opportunity for sales growth in the coming
year. Though 67.6 percent of the respondents cited U.S. and Canadian
markets, a small change from a year ago, about 18.5 percent mentioned
Asian markets - a jump from 9.9 percent last year.
The survey is conducted by Cahners Economics of Newton, Mass.
Bryant buys building
OKLAHOMA CITY (JR) -- Wilshire Technical Center has been bought by
Bryant Properties Inc., a local investment company. Sale price of
the property, which was offered by Liberty Bank and Trust Co., was
The property is a 38,240-square-foot office-service center at 430
W. Wilshire Blvd. and 7700 N. Hudson Ave. Present tenants of Wilshire
Technical Center are Designer Hardware, Art Source, Window
Innovations, Typewriters Plus, Hearting Conservation Services, and
the University of Central Oklahoma.
Japan's trade surplus falls
TOKYO (AP) -- A strong gain in imports caused Japan's trade
surplus to fall 66 percent in April, the latest sign that a longtime
irritant in Japan-U.S. relations may be diminishing. The overall
trade surplus fell to $3 billion at current exchange rates, down from
$8.7 billion in April 1995. It was the 17th straight monthly drop.
Japan's trade surplus with the United States dropped 56 percent from
$3.6 billion to $1.6 billion.
While exports rose slightly, imports surged as Japanese companies
increasingly shifted production abroad to escape high costs in Japan.
Japan's trade surplus with the United States has long strained
relations, and sometimes has caused the yen to surge on the belief
that Washington sought a weaker dollar to help U.S. manufacturers
improve their competitiveness abroad by making American goods
With the easing of the trade surplus, the dollar has recovered to
around 107 yen Monday, up from the low 80-yen range last summer.
GE expands PC leasing
STAMFORD, Conn. (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.'s Capital
Services unit has agreed to buy AmeriData Technologies Inc. for $490
million in stock to expand its computer equipment leasing business.
GE Capital will pay $16 a share for the computer consulting and
leasing company. AmeriData will become part of GE Capital's
Technology Management Services, which specializes in the high-profit
business of buying, setting up and managing computer operations for
"With the transition from mainframes to networks and older
personal computers to Pentiums, these would be the guys you turn to,"
said Seth Potter, an analyst at Sands Brothers & Co. …