SC business notebook, April 27

April 27, 2013 

S.C. residents view jellyfish operation

Port Royal residents are getting a glimpse of how a planned jellyfish unloading operation would work.

Residents watched Thursday as jellyfish were unloaded from a boat on a conveyor belt and were placed into white plastic containers and then packed with ice, The Beaufort Gazette reports. The containers were taken to a refrigerated truck. Another demonstration was set for Friday.

Millenarian Trading Co. says it wants to rehabilitate the shrimp docks in Port Royal to bring in jellyfish and take them to a processing plant, creating as many as 250 jobs.

The company is looking for a new site for the plant because of concerns that discharges from a proposed site in Gardens Corner might harm a nearby creek.

The jellyfish are dried before being shipped to Asian seafood markets.

Stocks stall on tepid U.S. economic growth

The stock market stalled Friday after the U.S. economy didn’t grow as much as hoped and earnings from a handful of big companies failed to rev up investors.

The economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, the government said. That was below the 3.1 percent forecast by economists.

U.S. government bonds, where investors seek safety, rose after the report.

Corporate earnings this week also contained worrisome signs. Many companies missed revenue forecasts from financial analysts, even as they reported higher quarterly profits.

Of the companies that have reported earnings so far, 70 percent have exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, compared with a 10-year average of 62 percent, according to S&P Capital IQ. But 43 percent have missed revenue estimates. Just over half of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported quarterly results.

The S&P 500 index dropped 2.92 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,582.24.

The Dow rose 11.75 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,712.55. The index got a big lift from Chevron. Profit for the U.S. oil company beat expectations of financial analysts in the first quarter, pushing shares up 1.3 percent to $120.04.

Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

Both indexes were up for the week and remain slightly below their all-time highs reached April 11. The Dow index rose 1.1 percent this week while the S&P gained 1.7 percent.

Among other big names investors focused on:

•, which has a Lexington County facility, fell 7 percent to $254.81 after the company warned of a possible loss in the current quarter. The online retailer also reported lower income for the first quarter as it continued to spend heavily on rights to digital content.

• Home builder D.R. Horton, which recently expanded its Midlands operations, surged 8.7 percent to $26.66 after its income nearly tripled thanks to a continuing recovery the housing market. The results handily beat the forecasts of financial analysts who follow the company.

• J.C. Penney, which has two Midlands stores, jumped 12 percent to $17 after the billionaire financier George Soros disclosed that he had taken a 7.9 percent stake in the struggling company.

Japan approves returning 787s to flight

The Japanese authorities formally approved Boeing’s fixes to the batteries on its 787 Dreamliner jets Friday and declared the aircraft fit for use, clearing the path for its biggest operators to begin flying the planes again following a grounding that began in January.

U.S. and European regulators already have approved Boeing’s plans to add safety features to the 787’s lithium-ion batteries that would minimize the odds that they would emit smoke or catch fire, after two units overheated on separate planes in January.

Late Friday, the Japanese Ministry of Transport followed suit, authorizing All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines — which together own about half of the 50 Dreamliners delivered — to resume flights of a plane whose grounding has affected tens of thousands of passengers.

The ministry is asking All Nippon and Japan Airlines to adapt voluntary safety measures, including adding monitors to the batteries to read voltage levels in real time, before the planes are brought back to service.

Boeing makes 787s in Washington state and at a new plant in North Charleston.

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