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Tuesday's Afternoon Update

U.S. small business sentiment rises in July

U.S. small business sentiment rose in July, in a boost to the economic outlook at the start of the third quarter. The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index increased by 0.7 point to 95.7 last month. More at the Reuters and 24/7 Wall Street.

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» Small Business Is Using More Contractors

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Kiran Patel

florida icon Kiran Patel
“My father taught me honesty. Once I remember he had me carry a bag of quarters from the bank to his shop and there was a quarter more. He said that banks can’t make mistakes. I counted again, and the extra quarter was still there. I counted one more time. The bank was probably a mile, two miles away, and he made me walk all the way back to the bank to give that quarter back. I was 10 years old.”

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First-time buyers shut out of expanding U.S. home supply

An inventory crunch for entry-level houses has only worsened during the past year as discounted foreclosures become scarce and cash-paying investors snap up affordable listings to convert to rentals. Properties at the lower end of the market are also the most likely to have underwater mortgages, keeping would-be sellers from moving. More at Bloomberg.

Why selling bananas is such a big (and difficult) business

The merger between banana heavyweights Fyffes and Chiquita Brands hit the skids early this week after Florida-based juice maker Cutrale Group and Brazilian investment firm Safra made a rival bid for Chiquita. So why is everyone suddenly so hungry for bananas? More at the Telegraph.

After offshore oil failure, Cuba shifts energy focus

Cuba has shifted its focus away from offshore oil, concentrating on renewable energy and improving output from onshore wells due to a lack of interest by foreign companies for further deepwater exploration, sources close to the industry say. More at Reuters.

Florida celebrates 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal, which has been called one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World,” is celebrating its 100th birthday this week. But Panama isn’t the only place planning a big centennial celebration. More at the Miami Herald.

Business Profile
Bike America to shift more focus to women

bike america Bike America, a bicycle retailer in South Florida since 1970, has new owners who plan to focus more on female consumers. Gary Mercado, president of Barmer Enterprises, is now at the helm of the retail chain. He plans to have a section within the stores devoted exclusively to women's bikes, cycling apparel and accessories.

» More at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel