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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

Florida businesses awarded Blue Ribbon status

Five Florida small businesses were named Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recognized for their dedication to the principles of free enterprise and their contributions to restoring jobs and prosperity. The companies are:

Verizon to create finance hub in Lake Mary

Verizon Communications will establish a finance and accounting center in Lake Mary that will have 750 new jobs by 2016, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced today. During a press conference in Lake Mary, Scott said the wireless carrier's new center will create 300 jobs by the end of 2014 and will grow to 750 jobs over the next two years. He also said the new facility will represent a $50 million capital investment. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Duke Energy's earnings increase in fourth quarter

CEO Sounding Board

What trends are driving the advertising & marketing business now?

ceo sounding board
Cheryl Miller, CEO of At The Table Public Relations tells us:

"Our clients want more for less. They want to receive better results, period. Our clients understand that reaching the female demographic is key to a lot of campaigns we’re working on."

» More from Miller and other Florida execs.

Duke Energy's earnings rose in the fourth quarter of 2012, beating analysts estimates but still lower than the same period a year earlier. The utility today reported net income of $435 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with $288 million, or 65 cents in 2011. More at the Tampa Bay Times.

Businesses should borrow, investment strategist says

Have a business? Borrow, borrow, borrow. That's the advice of BlackRock investment strategist Jeffrey Rosenberg, who told Fort Lauderdale-area business executives Tuesday that "this is an environment where you want to be borrowing money and investing back in your business." More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Fed touts Florida housing rebound

Regional housing starts, sales and prices stabilized in much of the Southeast last year, and Florida led the way, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said in its latest economic report. "After suffering some of the nation's largest declines, data show that a rebound in this state is clearly under way," the Fed said. More at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and see the Fed report.

What's in a Name
Fishy Distinctions

fishSaying it wants to give Florida's huge saltwater-fishing industry a marketing boost, the state agency that sets rules for hooks, bait and seasons will decide today in Orlando if the popular fish will be labeled according to how they are pursued — as "game," meaning for dinner, or for "sport," meaning as catch-and-release trophies. More from the Orlando Sentinel.