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Report: Visitors to spend $3.6 million

The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau expects $3.6 million in direct visitor spending throughout March as people visit the city for meetings, reunions and sporting events.

The largest event by attendance is this weekend’s Fort Gordon Youth Challenge at 2,000, followed by the AAU girls super regional basketball tournament beginning March 30, with 1,730 attendees. The bureau also expects the basketball tournament to generate the most visitor spending of any other event in March: $566,000.

In its monthly report, the bureau’s listed events predict 8,060 visitors.

Printing company sees income drop

Quad/Graphics Inc., which has a print operation in Evans, reported fourth-quarter income of $197 mil­lion, compared with $224 mil­lion in the fourth quarter of 2010.

For fiscal year 2011, the company reported net sales of $4.67 billion versus net sales of $4.76 billion for the previous year. The company reported Wednesday that its income for the year was $638 million because of stronger fourth-quarter performance, beating its own estimate of $625 million.

On Feb.7, the company, based in Sussex, Wis., received authorization from the Canadian Competition Bureau to proceed with the sale of its Canadian business to Transcontinental, and expects the transaction to close shortly. Quad/Graphics entered into an agreement with Transcontinental in July to swap its Canadian operations for Transcontinental’s Mexican assets.

Manufacturers aid economic growth

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the U.S. economy expanded at a “modest to moderate pace” in January and early February, fueled by manufacturers, including automakers.

“Manufacturing continued to expand at a steady pace across the nation,” with “several districts indicating gains in capital spending, especially in auto-related industries,” the Fed said in its Beige Book business survey, published two weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets to set monetary policy.

Chairman Ben Bernanke said in congressional testimony Wednesday that maintaining monetary stimulus is warranted even as the unemployment rate falls and rising oil prices might cause inflation to rise temporarily.

In other news

FACEBOOK UNVEILED new advertising opportunities Wednesday to help the world’s biggest brands such as Walmart and Starbucks spread their messages. Brands you’ve endorsed by hitting the “like” button will now be able to push deals and other updates right into the news feeds that show your friends’ updates, photos and links.

JAMES MURDOCH, his credibility diminished and his future at the helm of his father’s media empire in doubt, stepped down Wednesday as the executive chairman of News International, the troubled British newspaper subsidiary embroiled in a deepening phone hacking scandal.

GAS PRICES ROSE for the 22nd day in a row on Wednesday, even as evidence grew that drivers are using less fuel. Drivers nationwide are now paying an average of $3.73 for a gallon of gas. That’s 30 cents higher than a month ago and 36 cents higher than the same time last year.

– From staff and wire reports


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