Friday, January 30, 2004

Tristate summary

Production up at firms, poll finds

The coming of the new year might have taken the lid off the local economy, according to a poll by the National Association of Purchasing Management-Cincinnati. The January poll showed that all local companies surveyed said production and employment were either up or the same as the month before. Fifty-seven percent reported production rose, compared with 38 percent in December. A third reported that employment rose in January, roughly double the December number.

Peoples parent sees profits fall

Lower interest income and higher expenses caused the parent of Peoples Federal Savings Bank to post a slight drop in profits for 2003. Aurora, Ind.-based PFS Bancorp Inc. earned $827,000, down from $853,000 during the 2002 fourth quarter. For the fourth quarter, the bank earned $205,000, up from $197,000 a year earlier. PFS Bancorp operates from its main Aurora office and two branches in southeastern Indiana.

Midland stock dividends to rise

Shareholders of Midland Co. common stock will receive a 7.9 percent increase in their annual dividend this year. The Amelia-based insurance company said Thursday that its board of directors approved the increase to 20.5 cents from 19 cents a share. The increase will be reflected in dividends paid April 1 to shareholders of record March 19.

Chiquita names European chief

Chiquita Brands International Inc. has named Michel Loeb as president of its European operations. Loeb, 49, previously was a senior executive in Europe for S.C. Johnson and Son. Europe has long been Chiquita's most profitable market for its core banana product.

Staff reports

Civic group picks leader
Ashland pledges to continue efficiency gains
Natural gas prices fall
HDTV requires surfing through options
Seat cushion underscores Charmin ad
Delta, pilots still far apart on concessions
Key testimony in Stewart case delayed
American Express allies with MBNA
Business People
Pixar Animation ends Disney talks
Business digest
Tristate summary