Originally created 09/05/97

Business briefs



Economic growth on steady track

WASHINGTON -- U.S. factories hummed this summer and shoppers returned to the nation's retail stores, suggesting economic growth continued at a robust pace.

Orders to factories inched up only 0.2 percent in July, but that was enough to raise orders to a record seasonally adjusted $330.3 billion, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Economists had been looking for a small decline.

The unexpected increase came atop a strong 1.7 percent gain in June, the largest in five months and better than the 1.2 percent estimated a month ago.

Meanwhile, major retailers, who suffered through a dismal spring and early summer, reported buyers snapped up new fall merchandise, especially children's clothes and personal computers.

Also, Ford Motor Co. said its August sales were up 3.4 percent from last year. That came a day after General Motors Corp. and Japanese automakers reported a healthy 7 percent increase in U.S. sales of cars and light trucks, and Chrysler said it had stemmed sales declines.

On Wall Street, the blue-chip sector struggled, but stocks were mostly higher Thursday in quiet trading before Friday's key reading on wage inflation.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27.40 to 7,867.24, recovering over the final hour from a 76-point deficit.

Greenfield dividend declared

Greenfield Industries Inc., (Nasdaq: GFII) based in Evans, announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share. The dividend will be payable Sept. 30 to common shareholders of record Wednesday.

Greenfield Capital Trust, a subsidiary of Greenfield Industries, announced that it will make a regular distribution of 6 percent on its convertible preferred securities. The distribution will be payable Sept. 30 to holders of record Sept. 29.