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Tickers: April 21


The Iowa House and Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill yesterday that would allow victims of consumer fraud to file lawsuits to recover damages rather than having to turn to the attorney general to enforce consumer fraud laws, the Associated Press reported. Iowa is the only state that doesn’t allow consumers to file such lawsuits. Attorney General Tom Miller, who has pushed for such a law for nearly two decades, said in a statement that his office proposed the bill “because it benefits the vast majority of Iowa businesses that play fair, play by the rules – and face unfair competition from businesses that would use fraudulent practices against consumers. This bill gives protection to older Iowans, and to all consumers who might be cheated when they buy used cars, contract for home repairs or get a home mortgage.” The final bill contains a two-year statute of limitations, allows businesses to defend themselves by claming an honest mistake was made as a defense to avoid charges, and would apply only to future cases. The measure will now go to Gov. Chet Culver to sign.

U.S. Bancorp reported today that first-quarter net income was $529 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with $1.09 billion, or 38 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2008. The Minneapolis-based bank had record net revenues of $3.9 billion driven by strong growth in net interest income, a 19.6 percent growth in loans and 22.7 percent growth in average deposits, and record mortgage banking revenues. Results were affected by $198 million in net securities losses and an increase in provisions for credit losses of $530 million.

Deere & Co. said yesterday that it plans to rehire 68 laid-off workers at its John Deere Davenport Works plant due to an increase in orders for construction equipment, the Associated Press reported. The workers are expected to be back on the job on April 27. Deere has laid off more than 1,000 workers since the beginning of the year.

Sioux City-based Terra Industries Inc. reported a first-quarter net income of $30 million, or 30 cents per share, down from $100.2 million, or 97 cents per share, a year ago. Revenues were $419.8 million, compared with $574.7 million in 2008. The company’s performance was affected by a 27 percent decrease in ammonia prices and about a 30 percent decrease in sales of urea ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate. Terra also declared a dividend of 10 cents per share, payable on June 9 to shareholders of record on May 20. A conference call will be held at 2 p.m. Iowa time today. To access a live webcast, go to www.terraindustries.com.

Metro Waste Authority (MWA) has completed its acquisition of the North Dallas Landfill. Located outside Perry, the landfill serves Dawson, Jefferson, Linden, Minburn, Perry, Redfield and Waukee, and other portions of Dallas County. In its first year of ownership, Metro Waste plans to bid out a contract for construction of a new waste disposal cell and closure of the northern portion of the Phase I waste disposal cell in Boone County. MWA also will also beautify the site with litter pickup, new signs and landscaping.

Former Iowa Credit Union League leader Alvin Jordan passed away on Saturday at age 101. Jordan’s credit union career spanned seven decades, including serving as treasurer of the old Western Union Employees Credit Union from its foundation in 1938 until he joined the Credit Union League in 1953. “Al Jordan was one of the greatest credit union advocates in the 20th century,” said Patrick Jury, president and CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League, in a release. “He was the central figure in the development of the Iowa Credit Union League, and our industry mourns his passing.” A memorial service to celebrate Jordan’s life will be held this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Windsor Presbyterian Church, 6301 University Ave., Windsor Heights. A visitation will be held an hour prior to the service.

Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) will host a rider appreciation day tomorrow in honor of Earth Day. People can ride on local and express DART routes for free all day. DART experienced an 18 percent growth in ridership last year, with more than 4.6 million rides. For more information, go to www.ridedart.com.

Don DeWaay, owner of DeWaay Capital Management, has been named to Barron’s magazine’s 2009 list of Top 100 Financial Advisors. Coming in at number 58, DeWaay claims to be the first Iowan to make the list. According to the list, DeWaay oversees $650 million in total assets, has a typical account of $500,000 to $1.5 million and his investors’ typical net worth is $1 million to $3 million.

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