SC business notebook, April 10

April 9, 2013 

Beaufort County buying Pinckney Point tract

Beaufort County is buying a 230-acre tract that was the focus of a six-year legal battle with a developer. The (Hilton Head) Island Packet reports that the County Council announced plans Monday to buy Pinckney Point between the Okatie and Colleton rivers. The land was the object of a six-year battle with a Florida developer who wanted to develop the property with 76 high-end houses that would have septic tanks. The plans also called for a marina with 40 boat slips. The county opposed the project, expressing worry about water quality in the area. The money for the buying the property comes from $25 million in bonds to protect rural and critical land. The County Council also approved the bond program on Monday.

Surging Dow sets another record

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at another record high, driven by a surge in materials companies. The Dow gained almost 60 points to 14,673 Tuesday, an increase of 0.4 percent. The Dow most recently set a record a week ago. It’s up 12 percent this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose five points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 1,568. That’s less than two points from the record high the index reached last week. The Nasdaq rose 15, or 0.5 percent, to 3,237.

Ford: Focus world’s best-selling vehicle

Ford Motor Co. says its Focus small car was the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world last year, with just over 1 million sold. More than a quarter of all Focuses were sold in China, its largest market. The U.S. was the car’s second-largest market. It was the second year in a row the Focus has outsold the Toyota Corolla, according to data from automotive firm R.L. Polk. Rounding out the top five sellers were Ford’s F-Series pickup, the Wuling Zhiguang minivan and the Toyota Camry midsize car. Polk counts vehicles by nameplate, so versions of the Corolla sold under different names aren’t counted. Toyota says if its Matrix hatchback and other Corolla variants are included, it outsold the Focus by 186,000 vehicles.

BMW has best month ever

German luxury automaker BMW AG says it had its best month ever in March, increasing global sales by 3 percent to 191,269 vehicles. For the first three months of the year, sales rose by 5.3 percent compared with a year earlier, to 448,200 units – even though sales slipped in the company’s home market, Germany. German sales were off 3.8 percent.

The Associated Press contributed.

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