This week in business

June 22, 2009 

Outlook stable for ConAgra

ConAgra Foods officials have said that the deadly explosion at its Garner Slim Jim plant, while tragic, won't cause the company major financial pain.

On Thursday, the Omaha, Neb.-based corporation will report its latest quarterly results and could provide more details about its plans for restarting Slim Jim production.

ConAgra, which also makes Banquet frozen dinners, Peter Pan peanut butter and a number of other food brands, has been successful in raising prices to offset higher ingredient costs.

The company also is seeing sales climb as more consumer eat at home to save money during the recession.

Uptick in jobless rate expected

The Triangle has navigated the recession better than much of the state. In April, unemployment in the region was 8.8 percent, almost two percentage points below the North Carolina average.

On Friday, the N.C. Employment Security Commission will report data for May. Expect the rate to climb, reflecting broad pain that is still afflicting the state economy. Statewide joblessness surged to 11.1 percent in May, the ESC reported Friday.

Investors await clue to Fed policy

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and other interest-rate policymakers are expected to leave rates unchanged at nearly zero when they wrap up a two-day meeting Wednesday.

But Wall Street investors and economists really are more interested in clues as to whether the Fed will raise rates later this year to ward off inflation.

The trick is that the Fed wants to keep borrowing costs low to support economic recovery.

In other national

economic news

Tuesday: National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for May; Kroger and Oracle report quarterly earnings.

Wednesday: Commerce Department releases durable goods and new home sales for May; Monsanto, Nike and Rite Aid report earnings.

Thursday: Commerce releases first-quarter gross domestic product.

Friday: Commerce releases personal income and spending for May; KB Home reports earnings.

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