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5 Big Stories

By Jeff Harrington, Times Deputy Business Editor
Published March 11, 2007


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1. Siding against homeowners

Nationwide Florida drops 25,000 homeowners insurance policies in Florida.

WHAT IT MEANS: A state-ordered moratorium on cancellations is ending once companies file rate requests with the state. Nationwide is the first major insurer back in policy-dumping mode.

2. Theme park makes splash

Sea World Orlando unveils plans for Aquatica, a water park that will let guests practically swim with the fishes.

WHAT IT MEANS: The theme park unit of Anheuser-Busch Cos. is pouring more than $50-million into the first new Orlando park in seven years.

3. Hedge funds buy Catalina

Catalina agrees to be bought for $1.7-billion by its biggest shareholder, ValueAct Capital Management.

WHAT IT MEANS: The St. Petersburg company known for its coupon-dispensing machines joins the flood of public companies going private. Thank hedge funds awash with cash.

4. Florida's job machine slows

Florida created about 145,000 jobs over the past year, about half what the annualized rate used to be.

WHAT IT MEANS: After a four-year spree, Florida has been knocked off its perch as the top state for job creation.

5. Meat eaters: beware rising corn prices

Demand for corn from ethanol plants will drive up prices for beef, pork and chicken, the Agriculture Department says.

WHAT IT MEANS: The average price of corn is $3.20 a bushel, up from $2 last year. That's in the price range of the last corn price surge a decade ago.

[Last modified March 9, 2007, 20:47:41]


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