Business Notebook

March 18, 2013 

Local & State

Coast

Graham, Corps engineer talk about harbor deepening

While studies for the $300 million deepening of the Charleston Harbor shipping channel are moving ahead quickly in Charleston, maritime officials were warned Monday that completion of the project depends largely on what happens in Washington. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Lt. Col. Ed Chamberlayne, the Charleston District engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, briefed members of the S.C. State Ports Authority board on the status of the deepening project. Maritime interests want the shipping channel deepened to 50 feet from its present 45 feet to handle the larger container ships that will routinely be calling when the bigger vessels begin using the expanded Panama Canal in two years. Chamberlayne said the estimated $15 million in studies needed for the Charleston deepening project are moving forward and by the summer of next year a draft report on the deepening should be complete, saying that is “lightning fast” for the corps. But he warned the automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, could mean corps workers working four-day weeks beginning next month and slowing the needed studies. Graham said the $120 million federal share of the deepening work must still be approved by Congress.

Nation & World

Homebuilder confidence loses more ground

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders fell this month because of concerns that limited land, building materials and labor will slow sales in the short term. But builders’ outlook for sales over the next six months reached its strongest point in more than six years, suggesting the decline is temporary. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index fell to 44 from 46 in February. Readings below 50 suggest negative sentiment about the housing market. The last time the index was at 50 or higher was in April 2006.

U.S. stocks slump amid Cyprus bailout worries

Stocks closed moderately lower on Wall Street as investors worried that a controversial proposal to seize money from depositors in Cyprus could set off another bout of anxiety over Europe’s shared currency. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 62 points, or 0.4 percent, to 14,452 Monday. It had plunged as much as 110 points in the early going, briefly turned positive in the afternoon then fell back again in the last hour of trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell eight points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,552. The Nasdaq composite dropped 11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,237.

Burger King to offer turkey burger

If you think a Whopper’s too indulgent but are sick of chicken sandwiches, Burger King is offering a turkey burger for the first time. The Miami-based company is rolling out the new sandwich this week as part of its limited-time offers for spring, marking the latest fast-food effort to cater to health-conscious diners. Last week, McDonald’s said it plans to offer a lower-calorie version of its Egg McMuffin made with egg whites.

The Associated Press contributed.

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