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VOL. 126 | NO. 34 | Friday, February 18, 2011

Daily Digest

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Louis Dreyfus Transfers Warehouse to Related Entity

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Memphis Warehousing LLC has transferred two parcels to a related entity, Louis Dreyfus Commodities Cotton Storage LLC, for $2.4 million.

The company had recently bought the parcels from Westside Compress Co. Inc. for $2.4 million.

The buying and selling Louis Dreyfus limited liability companies are affiliates of Louis Dreyfus Corp., the parent of Memphis-based cotton giant Allenberg Cotton Co. That company bought its longtime cotton competitor Dunavant Enterprises Inc. last year.

The address listed on the sales document is 2514 Kentucky Drive. No loan documents were filed with the Shelby County Register of Deeds at the time of purchase.

The first parcel, which the Shelby County Assessor of Property lists at 0 Industrial Ave., is 81.06 acres. The Assessor’s 2010 appraisal was $6 million. The property includes a warehouse built in 1950, as well as railroad spurs, truck/train wells, loading docks and a number of smaller buildings.

The purchase also includes a 1.26-acre parcel of vacant land. The Shelby County Assessor’s 2010 appraisal was $1,000.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– The Daily News staff

Construction Materials Prices Up for Fourth Straight Month

Prices for construction materials rose by 0.9 percent in January – the fourth straight monthly increase – according to the Feb. 16 Producer Price Index report by the U. S. Department of Labor. Inputs to construction industry prices are 4.9 percent higher from January 2010.

Iron and steel prices jumped 4.7 percent in January and are up 16.4 percent over the last 12 months. Softwood lumber prices increased by 3.6 percent for the month and are up 8.7 percent year over year. Steel mill product prices went up 2 percent for the month and are up 11.5 percent from the same time last year.

Prices for fabricated structural metal products posted the largest monthly increase since August 2008, up 1.2 percent in January and up 4 percent from the same time last year.

Non-ferrous wire and cable prices decreased for the first time since last July, down 0.8 percent in January, but still 9.1 percent higher from the same time last year. Concrete product prices slipped 0.8 percent in January, and are unchanged year over year.

Crude energy material prices increased by 1.9 percent in January, but are down 4.3 percent from the same time last year. Overall, total wholesale goods prices were up 0.8 percent in January and are up 3.6 percent from January 2010.

– Sarah Baker

Online Giving Grew 35 Percent in 2010

Online giving increased by 35 percent and accounted for eight percent of all fundraising in 2010, according to an online giving report by Blackbaud, a Charleston, S.C., provider of software and services for nonprofits.

“2010 saw the continued growth in the importance of online fundraising for nonprofit organizations,” said Steve MacLaughlin, Blackbaud’s director of Internet solutions. “A recovering global economy, online response for disaster relief, peer-to-peer fundraising, and the role of social media in the nonprofit sector all shaped 2010.”

Although Haiti disaster-related fundraising significantly impacted online giving in the first quarter, end-of- year giving in Q4 still represented 31 percent of total online giving for the year.

Blackbaud’s 2010 Online Giving Report includes 24 months of online giving data from 1,812 nonprofit organizations, online major giving data from 2,190 nonprofits, and both online and offline data representing $5.1 billion in total fundraising from 1,438 nonprofits.

The report found that nonprofits of all sizes continue to see growth in online giving. Year-over-year online fundraising grew 34.5 percent in 2010, led by 55.6 percent by large nonprofits. Smaller organizations grew by 22 percent and medium organizations grew by 15.9 percent compared to the same time period in 2009.

Year-end giving accounted for the most online donations, with October, November, and December representing 31.3 percent of total online giving during 2010.

The full report can be found at www.blackbaud.com

– Aisling Maki

MSO to Hold Juried Conducting Competition

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra will host a juried international competition for conductors May 25 -27 with winners receiving cash prizes and the opportunity to lead the orchestra in a concert next season.

Ten contestants and two alternates will be selected to compete in three rounds to be held at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. Top prize is $7,500.

Contestants must submit a signed application with an $80 nonrefundable fee, copy of passport if from another country, a resume and short biography, as well as up to three references from conductors or music teachers, press reviews and DVDs containing videos of performance recordings.

Winners must be available to return to Memphis for the week of Oct. 9-16 to conduct at one of the MSO’s Masterworks concerts.

The jury reserves the right to split conducting duties at the concert among the three finalists.

The competition is the brainchild of MSO Music Director Mei-Ann Chen. Chen will sit on the competition jury with Robert Spano, music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Anthony Fogg, artistic administrator of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Ryan Fleur, president and chief executive officer of the MSO; and a guest yet to be confirmed.

The competition application form and details are available at www.memphissymphony.org/conductingcompetition. For more information, contact Veronica Bashbush at 537-2518 or veronica.bashbush@memphissymphony.org.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Deckers Join Morgan Keegan in Real Estate Investment Grp.

Mark Decker and Mark Decker Jr. have joined Morgan Keegan as managing directors in the firm’s Real Estate Investment Banking group. Both men, formerly with Robert W. Baird & Co., will be based in the firm’s recently opened office in Washington, D.C., and Decker will serve as co-head of the Real Estate Investment Banking group.

Decker has more than 25 years of experience in the REIT sector, including 13 years as an investment banker and 12 years as president of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. Decker Jr. has worked for more than a decade in real estate corporate finance.

– Andy Meek

Tenure, Lawsuits in Haslam Legis. Agenda

Gov. Bill Haslam’s first legislative agenda includes proposals to extend the teacher tenure probationary period from three to five years and to allow open enrollment at charter schools.

The new Republican governor unveiled his administration’s priorities at an 11-minute news conference in a crowded hallway of the Legislative office complex Thursday morning.

Haslam said he also wants to pass legislation to limit damages in medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits as part of efforts to attract more business to Tennessee.

Haslam said he wants to cap the total number of college credits eligible for lottery scholarships, but allow college students to use their scholarship money for summer courses.

– The Associated Press

Rate on 30-Yr. Mortgage Averages 5 Percent

Fixed mortgage rates inched down this week, following a dip in Treasury yields.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage slipped to 5 percent from 5.05 percent last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed home loan also fell to 4.27 percent from 4.29 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which slipped this week after the White House unveiled its $3.7 trillion budget request for the next fiscal year. The yield had spiked last week on fears of higher inflation.

The recent rise in rates adds another obstacle for the struggling housing market.

Still, fewer homeowners fell behind on their mortgage payments in the October-December quarter than in the previous quarter, a sign of improvement.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597