Originally created 06/25/02

Business briefs



Walgreen profits meet expectations

DEERFIELD, Ill. - Walgreen Co. rode steadily rising prescription sales to record earnings in the third quarter, reporting a 21 percent jump in profits even as it expands rapidly.

The results for the company, which re-entered the Augusta market last year with three stores, met Wall Street's expectations.

Net earnings were $259 million, or 25 cents per share, up from $213.4 million, or 21 cents a share, for the same period in 2001.

Production drop keeps gas price low

CAMARILLO, Calif. - Gasoline prices rose by less than a penny in the past two weeks because of higher prices in western states and a temporary slowdown in gas production.

The average price nationwide, including all gasoline grades and taxes, was about $1.44 a gallon Friday, according to the Lundberg survey of 8,000 stations.

That was up 0.65 per gallon since June 7. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet Wednesday in Vienna, Austria, to discuss output levels and pricing.

Government rates SUVs for rollovers

DETROIT - The 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, two-door Ford Explorer and Land Rover Discovery Series II 4x4 received the lowest rollover ratings among the latest group of sport utility vehicles to be rated by the federal government.

Each of the vehicles received two out of a possible five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which posted the results on its Web site Monday.

The Explorer did well, however, in side-impact crash tests, earning five stars for protection to the driver and passenger.

Report shows rise in cost of drugs

WASHINGTON - The prices of the 50 most prescribed drugs for older Americans rose, on average, at almost triple the overall rate of inflation last year, a study says.

The liberal consumer advocacy group Families USA released the report in advance of the House debate scheduled to start Wednesday on a Republican-backed bill that would spend $310 billion over 10 years to provide seniors with a prescription drug benefit.

Jeff Trewitt, a spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the industry's trade group, said the report was misleading.

AROUND TOWN

Financial planners

The Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina will offer a Certified Financial Planner program in September.

The 21-month program is geared toward people with a background in accounting, banking, estate planning, financial planning and securities sales.

For more information or an application, call the registrar at (800) 393-2362 or visit www.uscdmc.sc.edu.