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Five big stories of the week

Published December 17, 2006


1. Progress Energy picks nuke site

The utility chooses a site in Levy County to build its first nuclear power plant in Florida in nearly 30 years.

WHAT IT MEANS: Progress intends to rely heavily on nuclear power to satisfy the power needs of fast-growing Florida. The new plant is slated to deliver electricity to as many as 700,000 homes if it comes online in 2016 as projected. For Levy County, a forgotten child in the economic development boom to its south, Progress Energy will shake up things considerably. Some welcome 500 new high-paying jobs; others fret a vanishing rural lifestyle and any ill effects on the environment.

2. Airlines coast to coast talk merger

United and Continental explore a combination while AirTran pushes hard to buy Midwest Air.

WHAT IT MEANS: US Airways' hostile takeover bid for Delta Air Lines is sparking mergermania for the long-struggling airline industry. Not that it would necessarily be a good thing for passengers. Waning competition in the skies could well trigger higher fares and less flexibility for travelers.

3. U.S. port operations change hands

Dubai Port Worlds agrees to sell its operation running several major U.S. ports to AIG Global Investment Group.

WHAT IT MEANS: The notion of a Mideast company like Dubai controlling operations at six major U.S. seaports, including Tampa, has been a source of political angst. Even when Dubai put said operations under a separate North American subsidiary. The same local managers will be here under AIG, but the change in parents should ease political tension.

4. CBS's new record deal

CBS revives its legendary CBS Records label to furnish its TV shows with music.

WHAT IT MEANS: Eighteen years after exiting the music industry, CBS is back in the game. The leveraging of the label goes far outside the television network. CBS Records will market its artists on shows produced by CBS Paramount Television, which air on other channels. Plus it will release music on the Internet using iTunes. CBS Records has been home to top artists including Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett, Aerosmith, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen.

5. Dow hits new highs

The rising stock market closes Friday at a record.

WHAT IT MEANS: What economic slowdown? Cash-heavy investors, optimism that the Fed won't be hiking interest rates much and unbridled optimism in corporate earnings are feeding the market rally. Some analysts predict the Dow, now above 12,400, could push 14,000 by this time next year. Of course, predictions have been noticeably off base before.




[Last modified December 17, 2006, 01:04:52]

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