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Good morning from the business news desk of the Star Tribune.

TCF, one of Minnesota’s biggest banks, this morning said that it earned $37.9 million in the third quarter, far above last year’s $9.7 million. The latest profit amounted to 23 cents a share, in line with expectations. Core revenue was $305.9 million, up 2.1% from a year ago. The company said its return on average assets was .97% and return on average equity was 9.28%.

The most important economic datapoint that could influence investors today came out 15 minutes ago. Durable goods orders in September rose 3.7%, well above the expected jump of 2.5%.

Later this morning, there will be a revision to the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment figure and the release of August wholesale inventories data. stock futures are flat.

by Evan Ramstad, Digital.. 10/25/2013 12:44:47 PM

More from the TCF call. Asked by an analyst what it would take for TCF to increase its dividend, TCF chairman Bill Cooper said it is something directors look at regularly. Because TCF is now, as Cooper said, “one of the fastest capital growers in the banking business” he suggested the issue is becoming more pressing. When it comes to tools that could create a new payoff for shareholders, Cooper said, “It’s more likely in the future we would increase the dividend than buy the stock back.”

by Evan Ramstad, Digital.. homebuilders target the higher end WSJ

Minnesotas craft distilleries in high spirits Pioneer Press

Carl Icahns letter asking Apple to buy back $150bn in shares Street Insider

by Adam Belz 10/25/2013 3:24:38 PM

More details now on the story from North Dakota about oil spills and leaks related to pipelines. The size of the spills have been very small and, of course, it is unreasonable to think that every spill should be reported to the public.

In Minnesota, all businesses are required to call the state pollution incident hotline if a spill of five gallons or more happens for one of many substances, including motor oil, happens.

Even so, the story is likely to add to the high profile debate over whether to build the Keystone XL pipeline. And the outcome of that debate could affect the movement of North Dakota oil through Minnesota.

by Evan Ramstad, Digital.. 10/25/2013 5:00:15 PM

Pork Market Sizzles

Some little piggies might not make it to market as a devastating virus continues to spread among hog herds. Known as PEDV, the disease is killing baby pigs in at least 17 states nationwide. The virus is not harmful to humans nor is it transmissible through pork, but the disease related deaths could cut significantly into next spring’s pork production, with some states projecting losses near two percent.

Hog prices have been climbing over the last two weeks, gaining more than four cents per pound. Instead, cotton futures fell to ten month lows this week. Prices have been dropping due to weak foreign demand for cotton. Since the 1800s the United States has been a major seller of cotton to the world,currently exporting three quarters of its cotton crop, making it extremely dependent on foreign markets.

Globally, demand from the worlds largest consumer China has been weak, as that nation reportedly has a full years worth of cotton stockpiled already, while India, the worlds second largest cotton grower, likely to boost the size of its cotton crop this year.
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