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Ethanol Demand Boosts Corn Planting 15% in 2007, Biggest Since 1944

Corn planting will be up 15% this year to 90.5 million acres and 12.1 million more acres than in 2006,  the biggest U.S. corn planting since 1944, boosted by high demand from the ethanol industry and strong export sales, reports AP, citing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual prospective plantings report. 

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Consumer Spending, Personal Incomes Rise; Inflation Rises Fastest in 6 Months

Personal income increased $65.4 billion, or 0.6% in February while , consumer spending also rose by 0.6% or $55.5 billion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Private wage and salary increased $19.3 billion in February, compared with an increase of $64.9 billion in January because of bonus payments in January.

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$48 billion Federal Phone Deal Goes to Qwest, AT&T, Verizon

The US federal government's largest telecommunications contract ever, a 10-year deal worth up to $48 billion, was awarded to AT&T, Qwest Communications and Verizon on Thursday, according to the General Services Administration. The contract winners beat out Sprint Nextel Corp.  

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Q4 GDP Growth Better Revised Upwards to 2.5%

US GDP, a measure of total goods and services output within U.S. borders, grew at a 2.5% annual rate during Q4 2006, higher than the 2.2% reported a month ago, and up from 2% in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department, reports Reuters. 

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More Marketers Use RSS and Blogs; Mobile and Gaming Lag: study

What emerging channels will nab the most marketer interest this year? It's not the much buzzed-about areas such as mobile and gaming. More marketers will use the less sexy staples such as e-mail and search in 2007 than in previous years because they're the most measurable and the most indispensable, reports AdAge, citing a Forrester survey of interactive marketers. 

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Easter Spending Expected to Hit $14 billion

American consumers are eager to celebrate Easter with their family and friends, with the tTotal holiday spending estimated to reach $14.37 billion, according to NRF’s 2007 Easter Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. This year, shoppers who are planning to celebrate Easter (79.5%) are expected to spend an average of $135.07, up 11% from last year’s $121.72 per person. 

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PMP/MP3 Player Market to Double from 2005 to 2010 to Hit 270 million

Portable Media Players (PMP)/MP3 players represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the consumer electronics industry today, with unit shipments expected to more than double between 2005 and 2011, according to iSuppli Corp. Global PMP/MP3 factory revenue will rise to $21.5 billion by 2011, expanding at a CAGR of 7.4% from $14 billion in 2005. PMP/MP3 revenue this year will rise to $20.6 billion, up 14.4% from $18 billion in 2006.

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Nokia Leads Smarphone Market with 56% Share; Symbian Has 73% of OS Share

Nokia leads the smartphone market a 56.4% share of the 70.9 million units shipped in 2006, according to ABI Research. Nokia sold 40 million smartphones in 2006, compared to 28.5 million in 2005. Motorola occupied the second position with 8.5% market share, driven mostly by MING. 

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Business-Spending May Slowdown to 4.3% this Year, the Slowest Since 2003

A slowdown in business investment that the Federal Reserve expects to end without much damage to the economy may instead linger long enough to hurt job growth, according a article from Bloomberg today. Some key highlights include:

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Consumer Electronics Shipments to hit 3 billion Units by 2010: Study

Strong consumer electronics (CE) sales are expected to continue for several years, with total shipments increasing from 2.1 billion units in 2006 to 3 billion units in 2010, according to In-Stat, the high-tech market research firm. 

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IDC: Tech Marketing and Sales Expenses to Increase 8% and 9% in 2007

In its forthcoming report on IT vendor Marketing and Sales expenses and key performance indicators (KPIs), IDC's Executive Advisory Group forecasts an 8% increase for the average marketing budget and a 9% increase for the average sales budget in 2007. These budget increases are the largest that IDC has forecast in the five years it has been tracking these trends. 

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Venture-backed companies in US Account for 17% of GDP and 10 million Jobs: Study

U.S. companies that received venture capital from 1970-2005 accounted for 10 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenues in 2005, according to a study conducted by Global Insight for the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). This represents 9% of the total private sector work force and 16.6% of total U.S. GDP. Venture investment itself represents just 0.2% of U.S. GDP.  

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Health of US Tech Sector at Highest Level in Five Years on Global Demand

The Forrester/ITAA Tech Sector Index — which measures the health of the US technology industry — reached its highest level in five and a half years in Q4 2006, rising two points to 128.8, according to Forrester Research, Inc. and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). 

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Private Equity Bonus Scorecard 2006: Dealmaker

Private-equity funds continued to increase their dominant position on both ends of the domestic markets; they accounted for roughly one-fourth of M&A activity and sponsored more than 40% of all IPOs, with the time between purchase and sale often shrinking to mere months, reports Dealmaker magazine. 

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Chinese Consumer Market to Hit $8.8 trillion by 2020; Becomes Second Largest by 2015

China is on course to become the world's second-largest consumer market by 2015, according to Credit Suisse, reports Reuters. Credit Suisse projects that the value of Chinese consumption will hit $8.8 trillion by 2020, fueled partly by a 5% yearly appreciation in the yuan between now and then.

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Existing-Home Sales Rise in February to Highest Level Since Last April

Existing-home sales rose a strong 3.9% to annual rate1 of 6.69 million units in February following a healthy gain in January, reaching the highest level since last April, according to the National Association of Realtors. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $212,800 in February, down 1.3 percent from February 2006 when the median was $215,700. 

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February Search Engine Rankings: Google Captured 48.1% of the 6.9 billion Searches

Americans conducted 6.9 billion searches online in February, up 1 percent versus January and 19 percent versus February 2006, according to comScore. Google Sites captured 48.1 percent of the U.S. search market, gaining 0.6 share points from the previous month.  

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123 million Americans Viewed an Average 151 minutes of Online Video in January

7.2 billion Videos Online In January, nearly 123 million people in the U.S. (70% of the total U.S. Internet audience) viewed 7.2 billion videos online, according to comScore. 

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