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Briefs

Jobs added at Bluffton pretzel firm

McCoy

Increased business has prompted Pretzels Inc. to convert 50 to 60 temporary positions to regular full-time spots, the Bluffton company announced Monday.

An unspecified number of new hires will be included in those figures, said Al Candioto, human resources director.

Starting wages begin at $10.25 and include benefits. Wages will increase based on position and experience.

Pretzels Inc. employs about 270 full-time employees, many represented by Teamsters Local 414. “Our business has been blessed with continued steady growth,” CEO Steve Huggins said in a statement. “We believe that several factors have contributed to this, including quality products, focus on customer service and the fact that we have a great relationship with this community.”

Besides pretzels, the company – which has had a presence in Wells County since 1954 – provides various cheese snacks to numerous grocery chains, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Applicants can contact WorkOne Northeast at 459-1400 for more information.

Avon taps new CEO from J&J for makeover

Avon is hoping a new CEO can give it a much-needed makeover.

The struggling cosmetics seller on Monday tapped long-time Johnson & Johnson executive Sherilyn S. McCoy as its new chief executive. The announcement ended a four-month search to replace embattled CEO Andrea Jung, who had come under fire for failing to stem the company’s declines and wrap up a bribery investigation.

Avon Products Inc. said Jung – the first female CEO of the 126-year-old company – will remain executive chairman after McCoy takes over later this month.

McCoy’s emergence at Avon comes less than two months after she was passed over for the top spot at Johnson & Johnson.

Dow index tumbles back under 13,000

Investors had a three-day weekend to brood over disappointing job growth in March. When they got back to work Monday and delivered their verdict, it wasn’t good.

Stocks closed sharply lower, sending the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to their second four-day losing streak this year.

The Dow finished down 130.55 points at 12,929.59, its first close below 13,000 since March 12. The S&P ended the day off 15.88 points at 1,382.20. The Nasdaq composite closed down 33.42 at 3,047.08.

Lower crop reserves boosting food costs

U.S. corn stockpiles are poised to be the smallest in 16 years by August and soybean reserves will be lower than the government expected, potentially accelerating food-price inflation in an election year.

The Department of Agriculture is expected to announce today that corn inventories on Aug. 31 will be 37 percent lower than a year earlier at 715 million bushels (18.2 million metric tons), the average of analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a projection of 801 million bushels last month. Soybean stockpiles will be 242 million bushels, down from a March prediction of 275 million, the survey showed.

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