The worst U.S. drought in more than five decades is forecast to raise farm profits to a record $122.2 billion this year as higher prices and insurance payments outweigh crop losses from the dry conditions. Income will rise 3.7 percent from a revised $117.9 billion in 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The forecast is up from $91.7 billion in February. The value of crops will rise 6.7 percent to $222.1 billion, an all-time high, while revenue from livestock sales will decrease 0.1 percent to $165.8 billion, the USDA said. Expenses such as diesel fuel and animal feed will increase 6 percent to $329.1 billion.U.S. consumer confidence declines sharply
Confidence among U.S. consumers fell in August by the most in 10 months as households grew more pessimistic about their employment prospects and the economic outlook. The Conference Board's index decreased to 60.6 from a revised 65.4 in July, figures from the private research group showed. The 4.8-point decrease was the biggest since October. The reading was less than the most-pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey in which the median projection was 66. Rising gasoline prices, a jobless rate that's been above 8 percent since the start of 2009 and limited income gains are keeping consumers glum.N.Y. subpoenas 3 makers of energy drinks
The New York attorney general has subpoenaed three large makers of energy drinks as part of an investigation into whether the companies are misleading consumers about the health risks they could pose. The attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is also looking at whether the companies -- Monster Beverage, PepsiCo and Living Essentials -- violated federal law in promoting the drinks as dietary supplements. Besides Monster's drink, the beverages under scrutiny are Amp from Pepsi and 5-Hour Energy from Living Essentials.Reservation system failure hobbles United
United Continental Holdings Inc.'s reservation system failed for about two hours, blocking automated airport check-ins and delaying more than 200 flights at the world's largest airline. The "network outage" began after 2 p.m. Twin Cities time, and the airline was working to resume operations about 5 p.m., according to an e-mailed statement. United said it was still investigating the cause and was "reaccomodating customers as quickly as possible." Affected fliers are being allowed to cancel or rebook flights without a penalty, United said.Fidelity names Abigail Johnson president
Fidelity Investments, the second-biggest U.S. mutual-fund company, named Abigail Johnson president after consolidating all of the firm's key units under her leadership, making her the industry's highest-ranking woman. Johnson, 50, will oversee asset management, retail and institutional brokerage, retirement and benefits services, the Boston-based firm said. She will report to Edward C. "Ned" Johnson III, her father, who remains the company's chairman and chief executive. The 82-year-old Ned Johnson has led the company since 1977.GM to roll out 10 new, redesigned Cadillacs
General Motors Co. plans to introduce 10 all-new or redesigned Cadillacs within the next three years, executives said. Within the next year, the company plans to show off a redesigned production version of the CTS sedan and the next generation of the Escalade sport-utility vehicle, said Don Butler, Cadillac's vice president of marketing. The plan reflects the automaker's bid to capture a larger share of the luxury vehicle market.
FROM NEWS SERVICES