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Tribune reaches $2.73 billion deal for 19 television stations

U.S. manufacturing shows slight growth in June

CHICAGO, July 1 (UPI) -- The Tribune Co. said it had reached an agreement to buy 19 televisions stations in 16 markets from Local TV Holdings in a $2.73-billion all cash deal.

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that the deal that includes television stations in Denver, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Cleveland, is expected to make Tribune Co. the owner of more television stations than any other firm in the country.

It is also the first major purchase made by the Tribune Co. since it emerged from bankruptcy at the end of 2012, the Times said.

"This is a transformational acquisition for Tribune -- it makes us the No. 1 local TV affiliate group in America, expands the distribution platform for our high-quality video content and extends the reach of our digital products to new audiences across the country," said Tribune Chief Executive Officer Peter Liguori in a statement.

The deal requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission, but if it goes through, it would increase the Tribune's presence in states that have in recent years attracted substantial advertising revenue from political campaigns, including Ohio and Virginia, the Times said.

Local TV's major shareholder is Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity firm.

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TEMPE, Ariz., July 1 (UPI) -- U.S. manufacturing activity rose slightly higher than expected in June, the Institute of Supply Management said Monday.

The headline index (the Purchasing Managers' Index) rose from 49 to 50.9, which indicates manufacturing activity went from a slight contraction to a slight expansion, as 50 is the break-even point.

New orders for manufacturers also went from contraction to growth with the index for fresh business climbing from 48.8 to 51.9. The index measuring the number of employees -- which often lags behind the new orders index -- slipped from 50.1 to 48.7, the ISM said.

The institute said 12 of 18 manufacturing groups showed growth in June.

The strongest growth was seen in furniture and related products, which was followed by growth in the apparel industry, paper products, electrical equipment, appliances, petroleum and coal products and wood products.

Despite growth of business activity in the apparel industry, textile mills lead declines in manufacturing for June, followed by contractions reported by transportation equipment firms, chemical firms and computer and electronic product companies.

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Construction spending rose in May

A fourth Fed official says stimulus is safe for now


WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- Construction spending rose slightly April to May and is up for the first five months of the year, the U.S. Census Bureau News reported Monday.

Total construction spending in April was revised higher from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $860.8 billion to $870.3 billion. In May spending rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $874.9 billion, a 0.5 percent increase, the bureau said.

In May, spending on private-sector projects totaled $605.4 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, not far below the revised $605.7 billion for April.

In the month, a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $322.3 billion was spent on residential projects, a 1.2 percent climb from April's revised rate of $318.5. Private spending on commercial projects came to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $283.1 billion in May, 1.4 percent below the revised April estimate of $287.1 billion.

The estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of public construction spending in May was $269.5 billion, 1.8 percent higher than the revised April estimate of $264.7 billion.

Educational construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $60.4 billion, up 0.4 percent from April's revised rate of $60.1 billion. Highway construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $78.3 billion, up 0.8 percent from April's revised estimate of $77.7 billion, the department said.

For the first five months of the year, construction spending totaled $326.2 billion, a 6.2 percent increase over the estimated $307 billion spent January through May in 2012, the department said.

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WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Federal Reserve Gov. Jeremy Stein said Friday the central bank will be cautious about unwinding its stimulus programs.

"If the [economic] news is bad, and it is confirmed by further bad news in October and November, this would suggest that the 7 percent unemployment goal is likely to be further away, and the remainder of the program would be extended accordingly," Stein said in prepared remarks for delivery at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week the central bank could begin to slow down its $85 billion per month asset purchases this year and could possibly wind down the program completely in the middle of 2014.

Three high ranking Fed officials sought to calm investors Thursday, saying the central bank was not rushing into any monetary policy changes if the economy was not strong enough to handle it.

Stein seemed to sum up the Fed's week of clarifying the issue Friday.

"My only point is that consumers and businesses who look to asset prices for clues about the future stance of monetary policy should take care not to over-interpret these movements," he said.

"We have attempted in recent weeks to provide more clarity about the nature of our policy reaction function, but I view the fundamentals of our underlying policy stance as broadly unchanged," he said.

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Nothaft in a statement.

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