Smucker stock soars after profit report

J.M. Smucker said Thursday that its net profit increased by 11.2 percent, sending its stock soaring to its highest mark in six years. Shares of Smucker, buoyed from the addition of its new coffee and pet-food businesses, rose 7 percent to $121.28 following its second-quarter earnings report. The maker of such brands as Smucker's jellies and jams, Folgers coffee and Pillsbury said its net profit for the quarter was $176 million, up from $158.3 million for the same period a year ago. On a per share basis, net income fell to $1.47 from $1.55. The company, based in Orrville, Ohio, said the decrease was due to merger and integration costs, higher interest expense and the impact of additional shares outstanding. The company earlier this year made its largest acquisition to date, paying $5.6 billion for Big Heart Pet Brands, which includes Milk Bone and 9 Lives products.

Claims for unemployment benefits dip

Applications submitted to state agencies for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Nov. 14 from 276,000 in the previous period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The number of claims dipped to 255,000 in mid- July, the fewest since the 1970s. Steady demand has encouraged employers to hold the line on firings as a tighter labor market makes it difficult to attract skilled workers. Employment has shown enough signs of strength to allow Federal Reserve policymakers to consider raising rates for the first time in almost a decade. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 46 economists called for a decline to 270,000. Estimates ranged from 260,000 to 282,000. The prior week's claims were unrevised.

Tyson Foods closing plants in Ill., Wis.

Tyson Foods says it's closing plants in Chicago and Jefferson, Wis., in a move that will affect 880 people. Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson said in a statement Thursday the closures are due to changing product needs, the age of both facilities and prohibitive costs of renovations, as well as the distance of the Chicago plant from its raw material suppliers. Job losses at the Chicago plant, which makes prepared foods for the hospitality industry, will total around 480 people. Another 400 positions will be lost at the Jefferson plant, which makes sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings, as well as sliced pepperoni and salami for deli and food service applications. The company expects to close the plants in the second half of its fiscal year, which ends Oct 1, 2016.

Milwaukee Tool may considers expansion

Milwaukee Electric Tool Co. is considering a $33 million expansion of its Brookfield, Wis., headquarters that could add around 500 jobs within five years, the company announced Thursday. Known as Milwaukee Tool, the company is considering a 200,000-square-foot office expansion at its corporate headquarters that would receive financing help from the city and state of Wisconsin. Along with adding jobs, the project would retain around 800 jobs that Milwaukee Tool has at its Brookfield facilities, according to a company statement. Milwaukee Tool, which focuses on making power tools for the construction industry, over the last 10 years has redeveloped 190,000 square feet of former manufacturing space to accommodate such functions as research and development, packaging design, marketing, sales, training and administrative offices.

Chevy's Volt named Green Car of the Year

The Chevrolet Volt was named 2016 Green Car of the Year Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, in recognition of improvements to every aspect of the extended-range hybrid that was first introduced in 2011. Judges noted the 2016 model's "sleek and sporty design, more energy-dense batteries, new electric motors, and quicker acceleration." The car has a more efficient, 1.5-liter engine-generator that creates onboard electricity to power the Volt's motors for a total 420 miles. The Volt beat a field of finalists that includes the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata and Audi A3 E-Tron. The 2016 Volt went on sale last month. It starts at $33,170.

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