Weyerhaeuser to sell mill

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) -- Weyerhaeuser Co. says it's selling its Warrenton, Ore., lumber mill to Portland, Ore.-based Hampton Affiliates.

Weyerhaeuser said Dec. 7 the sale is expected to close in January, with the transaction including the mill and its land. Terms were not disclosed.

Weyerhaeuser advised Oregon officials that the mill would close, with the loss of 140 jobs -- 94 employees who are working now and 46 who were laid off indefinitely last March.

In a statement, Hampton said it would idle the mill for nine to 12 months for extensive machinery upgrades.

Survey says few CEOs plan hires

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The CEOs of America's largest companies do not expect employment to significantly improve in the next six months.

A quarterly survey from the Business Roundtable found that 19 percent of companies expect to grow their work forces, while 31 percent predict a decrease in the next six months. That's slightly better than the 13 percent who saw increased hiring three months earlier, when 40 percent forecast a decrease.

In more positive news, the number of CEOs expecting to increase capital spending nearly doubled, to 40 from 21 percent. The number expecting sales to increase grew to 68 from 51 percent.

Kroger reports $875M 3Q loss

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Kroger Co. says it lost $875 million in its third quarter, blaming tough price competition and the struggling California economy's hit on its grocery business.

Cincinnati-based Kroger also cut its profit and sales forecast for the full year.

The nation's largest traditional grocery took a $1.05 billion writedown on the Ralphs division it acquired a decade ago.

McDonald's sales comparison falls

OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) -- McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food chain, said Dec. 8 that a key U.S. sales figure fell in November, only the fourth time the monthly measurement failed to rise in more than 6 1/2 years.

But the company continued to experience some growth overseas, and overall sales edged up 0.7 percent during the month. A softening dollar has helped companies such as McDonald's that have a large international presence because overseas revenue translates into more dollars.

The chain has long been a bellwether of the industry, and consumers have sought out its Dollar Menu items and other food products during the recession as they look to save money when dining out.

More on-time payments seen

NEW YORK (AP) -- Consumers are expected to further improve their credit management in 2010, but unemployment will hamper the efforts of many Americans to make their credit card payments on time.

Credit card delinquencies are expected to continue falling through next year, but at a much slower rate than in the past two years, according to a prediction from credit reporting agency TransUnion.

By the end of next year, TransUnion expects 90-day delinquencies on credit cards issued by banks to drop to 1.04 percent.

The rate was 1.1 percent in the third quarter of 2009 and is expected to fall to 1.07 percent by the end of this year.

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