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US trade deficit hits $39.1 billion

The U.S. trade deficit widened in July from a four-year low in June. American consumers bought more foreign cars and other imported goods, while U.S. companies exported fewer long-lasting manufactured goods.

The rise in imports points to resilient consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of economic activity.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday the trade gap rose 13 percent to $39.1 billion. That’s up from June’s deficit of $34.5 billion, which was the smallest since late 2009.

Imports increased 1.6 percent to $228.6 billion, lifted by more shipments of oil, autos and consumer goods. Exports slipped 0.6 percent to $189.4 billion. Companies shipped fewer capital goods, such as civilian aircraft and industrial engines.

A wider trade gap can slow economic growth because it means U.S. consumers and businesses are spending more on foreign goods than U.S. companies are earning from overseas sales.

2 Lexus models affected by recall

Toyota is recalling 200,000 vehicles worldwide for a hybrid-system problem and an additional 169,000 vehicles for an engine bolt defect.

A Toyota Motor Corp. spokeswoman said Wednesday that no accidents related to either recall.

The first recall concerns an inverter in the hybrid system for models including the Lexus RX400 and the Highlander. About 141,000 vehicles are being recalled in the U.S.

The defect may cause an alarm to sound, and the hybrid may stop running, according to Toyota.

The second involves the Lexus GS350, IS350, Crown and Mark X models, including 106,000 vehicles in North America. The bolts may loosen, causing the engine to stall.

Succession plans in place at Lake City

David Findlay will become CEO of both Lakeland Financial Corp. and its subsidiary Lake City Bank at the company’s annual meeting on April 8, officials announced Wednesday.

Findlay, now the Warsaw-based company’s president and chief financial officer, will succeed Michael Kubacki, who will remain as executive chairman. Lakeland is beginning its search for a new CFO. Findlay will retain the president title.

The transition is part of a succession strategy, Kubacki said. As of the company’s most recent proxy statement, filed in March for the annual meeting in April, Kubacki was 61 and Findlay was 51. A spokeswoman was unsure whether either has had a birthday since then.

Findlay, who joined Lake City in 2000, was promoted to the presidency of the $3 billion bank in September 2010.

Orthopedics company moving to Warsaw

A five-year-old New Jersey-based company is moving its headquarters to Warsaw.

Nextremity Solutions, which specializes in small-joint problems, wanted its corporate office to be closer to the orthopedic industry and its talent pool in Warsaw, according to an announcement from the Kosciusko Economic Development Corp.

The firm, which employs 15 at its headquarters, turns orthopedic surgeons’ innovative ideas into marketable products. Nextremity outsources production.

The company’s management, finance, sales and marketing operations will be in Warsaw. The research and development office will remain in New Jersey.