Dow plunges on negative news
U.S. stocks closed sharply on Friday, turning the Dow average negative for the year, after a disappointing U.S. jobs report (69,000 jobs or 8.2 percent unemployment) and downbeat data from China and Europe raised serious concerns about the health of the global economy, reports MarketWatch. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 12,118.57 … Global financial figures did not put a damper on the the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London, as the 1,000-strong Diamond Jubilee flotilla of tugs, steamers, pleasure cruisers, dragon boats and kayaks sailed down the Thames to celebrate the reign of the extremely popular Queen Elizabeth II … Kellogg Co. completed its acquisition of Pringles from Procter & Gamble (P&G) for $2.695 billion, nearly tripling the size of Kellogg’s snacks business. “In Pringles, Kellogg has acquired a terrific business with exceptional employees, world-class manufacturing facilities, iconic brand awareness and a tremendous platform for growth,” said John Bryant, president and CEO for Kellogg. “The addition of Pringles to our portfolio significantly advances the company’s strategic goal of building a global snacks business on par with our global cereal business and expanding our global footprint.” Pringles has sales of $1.5 billion across more than 140 countries ... Smart Balance Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire Udi’s Healthy Foods L.L.C. for $125 million from majority shareholder Hubson Acquisition L.L.C., an affiliate of E&A industries, the family of founder Udi Baron and other minority holders. The transaction is expected to close in July … The board of directors for Sara Lee Corp. on Thursday unanimously approved the separation of its international Coffee & Tea business (“CoffeeCo”) and approved a 1-for-5 reverse stock split of shares of Sara Lee common stock to take effect after the separation. Sara Lee also announced boards of directors for its international coffee and tea company and its North American meats company, which currently is referred to as “MeatCo.” … Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods Inc., said at the Citi Global Consumer Conference in New York that he’d like to see the Omaha-based company become a “top-tier” operating company in five years, reports Food Business News. Doing so, he said, will require the company to leverage core adjacencies, grow internationally and expand in private label. The frozen business is an excellent example of a category with opportunities for future growth through core adjacencies, he said. “We have a very strong position in frozen meals with brands like Marie Callender’s, Banquet and Healthy Choice, so we have big scale, strong capabilities there. But the real growth vectors in the frozen business are in the breakfast daypart and in the dessert daypart -- those are what we would call adjacencies.” … Bob Evans Farms Inc. plans to close its food manufacturing facilities in Springfield, Ohio, and Bidwell, Ohio, by the summer of 2013. The two facilities produce ready-to-eat products such as sandwiches, soups and gravies. Bob Evans Farms will invest $23 million to $26 million to add production lines to its ready-to-eat foods manufacturing facility in Sulphur Springs, Texas … Parmalat S.p.A. will acquire the Lactalis American Group Inc., Buffalo, N.Y., owner of the Sorrento, Galbani, President and Precious cheese brands, for $904 million. Both companies are owned by the Laval, France-based Lactalis Group and the transaction, which will give Parmalat entry into the U.S. dairy market, is expected to close in July … Flowers Foods Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Lepage Bakeries Inc., Auburn, Maine, for $370 million in cash and stock. Lepage Bakeries operates three bakeries — two in Lewiston, Maine, and one in Brattleboro, Vt. -- and has strong regional brands in Country Kitchen and Barowsky’s as well as a solid distribution system serving retail and food service customers throughout the Northeast ... Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co., said the Camden, N.J.-based company is “working very hard to lay the groundwork for a different and exciting future for Campbell, reports Food Business News.” Morrison spoke May 30 as part of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. As part of its effort to build a global food company with superior consumer brand value, Morrison honed in on three growth strategies in place at Campbell: to stabilize and then profitably grow North America soup and simple meals; expand the company’s international presence; and continue to drive growth in healthy beverages and baked snacks … Forty-five percent of children ages 6 to 12 chose apple fries over french fries after seeing pictures of superheroes, compared with 9 percent of those who were not presented with superhero prompts, researchers at Cornell University found, reports The Wall Street Journal/The Juggle blog. Children who opted for apple fries consumed 34 calories, compared with 227 calories for children who had french fries, according to the study published in Pediatric Obesity ... New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced a proposition that would limit the size of sodas sold at restaurants, movie theatres, street carts and delis to 16-oz, reports Huffington Post. Convenience and grocery stores would be exempt. While most New Yorkers would probably agree that drinking vast quantities of soda isn't the best for your body, there has been concern about the precedent that a soda ban would set. Namely, if the government can tell us how much soda to drink, what else can they control? On Thursday night's "Daily Show," Jon Stewart weighed in with a segment he called "Drink Differently." It seems that while Stewart agrees that drinking less soda is a healthier behavior, he thinks that simply making the containers smaller isn't going to do a whole lot toward that cause. "It combines the draconian government overreach people love with the probable lack of results they expect!" Stewart joked.