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Principal Financial Group Inc. is among six U.S. insurers approved to receive several billion dollars in bailout funds from the U.S. Treasury Department, according to media reports. The New York Times reported that each company is eligible to receive up to 3 percent of its total assets. In November, Principal estimated that it would be eligible for up to $2 billion when it applied to the government’s Capital Repurchase Program. Principal and other insurers qualified for the program because each sponsored a bank holding company.

The Consumer Price Index was flat in April after increasing 0.1 percent in March, the U.S. Department of Labor said today, with decreases in food and energy costs offsetting increases in costs for medical care, vehicles and tobacco. From a year ago, consumer prices fell 0.7 percent, triggered by declines in food and fuel costs. The Labor Department also reported today that real average weekly earnings rose by 0.1 percent in April due to a 0.1 percent increase in average hourly earnings. Average weekly hours were unchanged in April from March. Real earnings increased 2.6 percent compared with a year ago.

Meredith Corp. has declared a dividend of 22.5 cents per share, payable on June 15 to shareholders of record on May 29. Meredith has paid a dividend for 62 consecutive years and has increased its dividend for 16 consecutive years.

Wells Fargo & Co. will pay a quarterly dividend of $312.5 million to the U.S. Treasury Department on the 25,000 shares of preferred stock it purchased under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. The dividend is payable today. To date, Wells Fargo has received $25 billion under the TARP initiative.

Des Moines has been named a finalist for the 2009 All American City award. In June, a delegation of students, residents, business representatives and city officials will compete for the prize in Tampa, Fla. To help pay for the trip, the city of Des Moines will raffle theme baskets the next two Saturdays at the Downtown Farmers Market. In addition to baskets carrying city of Des Moines and East Village themes, the raffle also offers a chance to win one of two stay-at-home vacations, one for families and one for adults.

Craig Damos, chairman and CEO of the Weitz Co., has accepted an invitation to join the Iowa Business Council, an invitation-only organization made up of the top executives of Iowa’s 20 largest employers, the three state universities and the state’s largest banking association.

The Downtown Community Alliance, HDR Inc. and gçnus landscape architects will present the findings of the Downtown Des Moines tram feasibility study at a public meeting from noon to 1:30 p.m. May 21 at the Des Moines Central Library, 1000 Grand Ave. The presentation will include a description of the proposed route, basic operations and financing options and time for public comment. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation, and a copy of the presentation will be available at www.downtowndesmoines.com after the meeting. For additional information about the study, contact Amy Baker at 577-7495.

Rebecca Batcheller has been named executive director of the Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce, an affiliate of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. For more information about the Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce, go to www.desmoinesdowntownchamber.com.

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