Five big stories

Published November 5, 2006

1. Large property manager firms merge

CB Richard Ellis strikes a deal to buy former rival Trammell Crow for about $1.79-billion.

WHAT IT MEANS: The deal creates the top property management entity in the Tampa Bay area. The 10-million square feet under combined management includes a good chunk of the Tampa skyline, such as Bank of America Plaza, SunTrust Financial Centre and Fifth Third Center.

2. Sales surge for most automakers

General Motors, Toyota and Ford report a sales jump in October, but DaimlerChrysler endures a further drop-off.

WHAT IT MEANS: Lower gas prices are fueling a significant jump in sales of trucks and sports utility vehicles. For GM, for instance, truck and SUV sales rose 33 percent, leading to a 17 percent increase in sales for the automaker.

3. CVS buys Caremark

CVS Corp., the second-biggest U.S. drugstore, agreed to buy drug supplier Caremark Rx for $21.2-billion.

WHAT IT MEANS: CVS will create a combined service that manages drug-benefit plans and sales at pharmacies. It will become more competitive with Wal-Mart, which is aggressively discounting generic drugs in 27 states, including Florida.

4. Wal-Mart gives bleak sales forecast

The giant retailer reported disappointing October sales and said the outlook is murkier for November.

WHAT IT MEANS: A mixed holiday bag. Retailers could be bracing for a brutal season; but for consumers, it's good news. Look for bigger-than-expected discounts on toys and electronics at a store near you.

5. More airline bags lost in the shuffle

Airlines mishandled an increasing number of bags from July through September after the crush of checked luggage because of tighter security.

WHAT IT MEANS: : Passengers may want to travel light or consider luggage handling records as one of their criteria in picking an airline. USAirways, for instance, lost 9.27 bags per 1,000 passengers, more than twice the rate of JetBlue, which ranked best among carriers.