Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Article excerpt

Trade deficit grows * The U.S. trade deficit rose 5.2 percent in April to $47.6 billion, the highest level since January. The politically sensitive trade gap with China registered a 12.4 percent increase.

Exports dropped 0.3 percent to $191 billion, pulled down by a drop in automotive exports. Imports rose 0.8 percent to $238.6 billion as Americans bought more foreign-made cellphones and other consumer goods.

Food talks break off * Conagra Brands Inc. has ended talks to acquire Pinnacle Foods Inc., the maker of Vlasic pickles, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the talks.

Chicago-based Conagra had approached Parsippany, N.J.-based Pinnacle to express interest in a potential acquisition, Reuters said Wednesday.

The deal would have combined brands such as Conagra's Orville Redenbacher's popcorn with Pinnacle's Duncan Hines baking products and Birds Eye frozen vegetables, as both companies grapple with slowing frozen and packaged food sales. Conagra and Pinnacle both declined to comment; Pinnacle shares fell 6 percent.

Pfizer prices up 20 percent * Pfizer Inc. has raised the price of 91 drugs by an average of 20 percent this year in the United States, the Financial Times reported Friday.

The drugmaker raised the list price of the medicines, including the erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra and the pain drug Lyrica, on June 1, adding to increases in January, the London newspaper reported.

"For Pfizer's U.S. biopharma business, as of the first quarter, the weighted average net selling price increase year-to-date is 4 percent," a spokesman for Pfizer said, referring to prices after discounts and rebates rather than list prices.

Wal-Mart touts investment in people * Wal-Mart chief executive Doug McMillon touted the company's investments in people and technology, but also said the company may have reached an employment peak and urged employees not to be afraid of automation. …

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