Originally created 03/17/04

Business briefs



Group wants trade sanctions on China

WASHINGTON - Organized labor asked the Bush administration on Tuesday to impose economic sanctions on China, contending that the country has violated workers' rights in order to gain trade advantages against the United States.

The petition, filed by the AFL-CIO on behalf of its 13 million members, alleges that China is brutally repressing worker rights and this constitutes an unfair labor practice as defined in Section 301 of Trade Act of 1974.

Food company's earnings fall flat

MINNEAPOLIS - General Mills Inc. reported Tuesday that third-quarter earnings were essentially flat compared with last year, missing Wall Street expectations, partly as a result of the company's slow start in getting on the low-carb bandwagon.

The maker of Cheerios and Yoplait Yogurt earned $242 million in the quarter ended Feb. 22, up from $240 million.

Display business increases outlook

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. - 3M Co. has increased its first-quarter and full-year earnings estimates, citing elevated sales, favorable currency exchange rates and continued growth in its display and graphics division.

It anticipates first- quarter earnings to be 86 cents to 88 cents a share, up from the previous estimate of 80 cents to 82 cents a share.

Weather slows housing projects

WASHINGTON - Construction delays from bad weather drove the number of housing projects down nationwide for the second straight month in February.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the number of residential buildings under way fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.86 million units, representing a 4 percent decrease from the previous month.