Starwatch Consumer

South American burger chain comes to the U.S.

Updated: 2013-04-18T22:43:26Z

New burgers

El Corral, whose hamburgers are an institution in Colombia, has opened a couple of restaurants in Florida and wants to open hundreds more in the U.S.

A company called 4JS Restaurant Management has been created to lead the expansion effort.

Meat bugs

More than half of samples of ground turkey, pork chops and ground beef collected from supermarkets for testing by the federal government contained salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter or some other antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the report “Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets.”

The Environmental Work Group report was partly underwritten by Applegate, which sells antibiotic-free meats. The information was collected in 2011 by a joint Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention effort and got little notice when first published in February.

Colon test

A new non-invasive screening test can detect most cases of colorectal cancer and also many pre-cancerous polyps, potentially helping to sharply reduce the death toll from the disease, according to results of a study released Thursday.

However, the results fell short of investor expectations and even those of the company that developed the test, the Exact Sciences Corp., sending its shares down about 20 percent.

The test, which checks for changes in a person’s DNA in a stool sample, isn’t expected to replace colonoscopies. But it would provide a much cheaper, faster, less invasive screening. Exact Sciences says the non-invasive test could allow more people to be screened, and those with a positive result could then get a colonoscopy.

Less confident

The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators dipped 0.1 percent last month to 94.7, the first decline after three months of gains.

The gauge is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

Declines in consumer confidence, housing permits and new orders for manufactured goods pushed down the index.

Higher stock prices and a larger spread between long-term and short-term interest rates helped offset the decline.

Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board, said across-the-board government spending cuts that kicked in March 1 probably were weighing on growth.

Mortgage rates

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.41 percent in the week ending Thursday, down from 3.43 percent, Freddie Mac said.

The average 15-year rate dropped to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent.

The rates remain close to record lows, which has helped support the housing recovery. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of purchase applications climbed 3.9 percent in the week through April 12 to its highest point since May 2010.

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