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BUSINESS TODAY

TECH DATA NAMES U.S. EXECUTIVE: Tech Data Corp., the giant Clearwater computer equipment distributor, has hired Perry Monych as president of United States operations. Monych was formerly the chief executive of GE Access, a worldwide provider of UNIX computers and software. He also served as chief executive of North American operations for GE Capital IT Solutions. At Tech Data, Monych will be responsible for overseeing business strategy in the U.S. market. He will report directly to Nestor Cano, Tech Data's president of worldwide operations.

TRADE DEFICIT RISES TO RECORD: The Commerce Department reported that America's trade deficit climbed to a record $106.1-billion in the second quarter. The deficit in the current account was up 4.6 percent from the previous quarter.

J.C. PENNEY CO. SLICES DIVIDEND: J.C. Penney Co. said it will cut its quarterly dividend to 12.5 cents a share from 28.75 cents. The retailer said it plans to use the extra cash to invest more in its department stores and Largo-based Eckerd drugstore chain. The dividend cut is J.C. Penney's second in less than a year. In December, the company reduced its quarterly dividend to 28.75 cents a share from 54.5 cents, also to spend more on its operations. Penney's closed down 69 cents at $13.88.

CANADIAN VISITS TO PINELLAS DROP IN JULY: Pinellas County attracted 22,633 Canadian visitors in July, down 5 percent from the same month the previous year, according to a report Research Data Services made Wednesday to the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. For the first seven months of the year, the county had 240,299 Canadian visitors, a 3 percent increase.

STRONG ORANGE CROP EXPECTED: The head of the state's citrus-growing cooperative said Florida orange growers will harvest an estimated 240-million boxes in the 2000-2001 crop, the second-largest ever. The estimate was made by Andrew W. LaVigne, chief executive of Florida Citrus Mutual, an 11,000-member cooperative of citrus farmers. The U.S. Agriculture Department will issue its first forecast for the coming orange crop Oct. 12, based on conditions as of Oct. 1.

JANUS FUND CLOSED TO NEW

INVESTORS: Janus Capital closed its flagship Janus Fund to new investors, its fifth fund closing this year. The assets of Janus have nearly tripled since the beginning of last year, and to effectively manage its rapidly expanding assets the company has now closed half of its 16 equity funds.

PROCTER & GAMBLE DETAILS SALES: Procter & Gamble Co. disclosed in a regulatory filing that it received $419-million in cash from selling small brands in the past year, including Prell shampoo and Coast soap. In the past year, Procter & Gamble sold Coast to Dial Corp., Prell and the Chloraseptic line of sore-throat remedies to Prestige Brands International Inc., and its Oxydol detergent brand to Redox Brands Inc. Terms of all of the sales weren't disclosed at the time they were announced.

AOL TARGETS SMALL BUSINESSES: America Online Inc. said it's starting a free service to get small businesses online and increase its advertising and e-commerce revenue. The service, called Netscape Netbusiness, lets small businesses create an online "business card," or page of personal information, to attract customers. It also provides small business owners and employees with industry-specific news and market research.

INTERNET DEAL: Inktomi Corp., whose software speeds the flow of information on the Internet, agreed to buy closely held FastForward Networks for $1.3-billion in stock to add products that improve live Web broadcasts. FastForward's customers, which include Digital Island Inc. and RealNetworks Inc., use the software to deliver, monitor and charge for live Internet broadcasts. Shares of Inktomi fell $2.25 to $108.75.

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