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Oil’s lonely fall, Coke’s China thirst
Oil prices are falling, but the same can’t be said of most oil-linked goods. Coke buys one of China’s biggest juice makers. And ready or not, all-digital TV goes live in Wilmington next week.
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EWS AT A GLANCE

Oil’s fall not reflected in non-oil prices

As oil prices surged to record highs this year, gas wasn’t the only item whose price jumped in tandem. Manufacturers raised prices on goods from toothpaste to plastics that use oil as a raw ingredient, and on products that only use oil to power the manufacturing process. But while gas prices have fallen, prices on most other goods haven’t. Manufacturers say they still need to recoup costs incurred in the oil run-up, and that they could still lower prices if oil stays lower. “We would love to see it come down and stay down,” said Delta Air Lines spokeswoman Betsy Talton. (The New York Times) Oil fell to as low as $108.25 a barrel in New York trading early today. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

Coke buys Chinese juice maker for $2.5 billion

Coca-Cola agreed to buy China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd. for up to $2.5 billion, in the biggest foreign takeover of a Chinese food or beverage company. (AP in CNNMoney.com) The purchase will strengthen the large role Coca-Cola, the world’s top beverage maker, already plays in China’s booming juice market. Huiyuan controls about 43 percent of China’s pure-juice market. China’s juice market is “a relatively small market in the beverages space,” said Nomura Securities analyst Emma Liu, but “it’s a high-growth market because of the growing personal income in China and increased health awareness.” (Reuters) The offer values Huiyuan at about three times its current value. (MarketWatch)

Ospraie shutters flagship hedge fund

New York-based Ospraie Management LLC, once the largest commodity hedge fund firm, will close its flagship fund after it lost 26.7 percent in August on bad bets on energy, mining, and natural resources stocks. In all, the Ospraie Fund, with $2.8 billion in assets at the start of August, has fallen 38.6 percent this year. “Commodities have been the story du jour, what with China’s 1.2 billion population industrializing,” said Peter Rup at Orion Capital Management. “It’s easy to find a trend and ride the train. The problem is, managers don’t know when to get off it.” (Bloomberg) The fund’s closure could be more bad news for Lehman Brothers, which took a 20 percent stake in Ospraie Management in 2005. (Reuters)

The switch to digital TV, round 1

The U.S. switch to all-digital TV will go into effect next February, but the test run goes live at noon next Monday in Wilmington, N.C. The Federal Communications Commission is lavishing attention on the seaside town, the 135th largest media market, to make sure the rollout is a success. “It’s like landing on the moon,” said Constance Henley Knox, the general manager of CBS affiliate WILM. “We’re making history.” The switch to digital is the biggest change in TV since the switch to color 50 years ago, but only viewers who watch TV using antennas are at risk of losing their signal. Still, some wonder if Wilmington is a good guinea pig, with its low antenna-user populace, flat geography, and FCC blitz. (Los Angeles Times)

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