Monday, December 18, 2017
Business

Beyond Tampa Bay:

THE NATION'S FARMERS planted the largest soybean crop ever this year by devoting to the crop millions of acres that once grew corn, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday. Farmers, mostly in the northern and central United States, planted 84.8 million acres of soybeans, nearly 11 percent more than last year's 76.5 million acres. Corn was planted on 91.6 million acres, nearly 4 percent less than last year's 95.4 million acres.

the number of signed contracts to buy homes shot up across the United States in May. But the pace of buying this year remains slower than in 2013, in part because of sluggish winter sales. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 6.1 percent to 103.9 last month. It was the sharpest month-over-month gain since April 2010. The index remains 5.2 percent below its level a year ago. Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale. Lower mortgage rates and increased supplies of homes on the market drove much of the gains.

paint and coatings maker PPG Industries is buying Consorcio Comex SA de CV for $2.3 billion to help bolster its architectural coatings presence in Mexico and Central America. Comex makes coatings and related products in Mexico and sells them in Mexico and Central America. Pittsburgh-based PPG makes coatings, specialty materials and glass products. Privately held Comex, based in Mexico City, had 2013 sales of about $1 billion.



RETIREMENT PLANS covering roughly 1.5 million workers are severely underfunded, threatening benefit cuts for current and future retirees, a federal watchdog agency warned Monday. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation said multi-employer plans, which are collectively bargained retirement plans maintained by more than one employer, are most at risk. "Plan insolvencies ... are now both more likely and more imminent than in our last report," the report said. The agency also said single-employer pension plans — covering just over 30 million participants — are likely to remain firmer financial footing for at least the next 10 years.

Comments
Another reason to buy a home in Tampa Bay? Down payments are lower here

Another reason to buy a home in Tampa Bay? Down payments are lower here

Homebuyers in the Tampa Bay area don’t have to shell out as much on downpayments as buyers in many other places. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, the median downpayment for a bay area home in the quarter ended in September was $13,750 compare...
Updated: 1 hour ago

First-Citizens Bank & Trust acquires Tampa-based HomeBancorp

TAMPA — North Carolina-based First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co. is acquiring Tampa-headquartered HomeBancorp, which operates HomeBanc. First Citizens Bank will pay $15.03 per share in cash, a Monday release said, and the deal is expected to close by mid...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Video: Chick fil-A feeds thousands of hungry travelers stranded in Atlanta airport

Video: Chick fil-A feeds thousands of hungry travelers stranded in Atlanta airport

Chick fil-A is normally closed on Sundays, but it made an exception for the thousands who were stranded at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The travelers were left in the dark following a power outage that forced cancellation of mor...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete-Clearwater airport expects holiday parking crunch, so consider arranging a ride

St. Pete-Clearwater airport expects holiday parking crunch, so consider arranging a ride

CLEARWATER — With passenger traffic picking up on Monday and expected to stay strong through Dec. 29, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport says it could run out of parking spaces, so passengers should consider making arrangements to be dropped o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida gas prices back to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels

Florida gas prices back to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels

Just in time for one of the busiest travel periods of the year, gas prices across Florida are back down to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels. Tampa Bay gas hit $2.30 per gallon today, while state prices averaged $2.37 per gallon, according to AAA, The Auto...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

ATLANTA — While power has been restored to the world’s busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days.Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were gro...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Published: 12/17/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million ta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a host and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and they de...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/17/17
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17