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Boeing makes room for 737 MAX assembly

SEATTLE – Boeing said Thursday it has freed up a large floor space inside its 737 assembly plant in Renton that, after further chess-like moves, will provide room for a dedicated 737 MAX final assembly line in 2015.

Between 4 a.m and lunchtime on a Saturday earlier this month, a moving crew cleared the wing systems installation line out of the building.

Nine structurally complete wings were moved out into a newly cleared space inside the adjacent wing fabrication building. Several other wings with their systems all but ready were left behind, ready to go on the airplanes.

The space now free, an area beside the second 737 assembly line, will be used to build six new fuselage systems installation stalls in front of three such stalls already there.

The new 737 MAX is set to begin final assembly in 2015, to have its first flight in 2016 and to enter service with Southwest in fall 2017.

Facebook shares finally top $40 milestone

NEW YORK – Facebook’s stock closed above $40 for the first time Friday.

The social network’s shares have gained 53 percent since July 24, when it reported strong growth in mobile ad revenue and a solid profit during its second quarter.

Facebook announced a technology partnership Wednesday that aims to expand Internet access to the 5 billion people not currently connected. That could create more potential Facebook users.

Facebook Inc. went public in May 2012 at $38 per share.

Folgers reports third-quarter growth

LOS ANGELES – A coffee connoisseur may look for balanced flavors, acidity and proper brewing technique in their cup of joe, but America’s palate prefers a more simpler brew: Folgers.

J.M. Smucker Co. reported this week that volume of its U.S. retail coffee, which includes Folgers, increased 4 percent in the three-month quarter that ended July 31.

Folgers is still the leading brand sold on the U.S. market, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Folgers had an average market share of 15.6 percent in the U.S. from May to July.

Seattle-based Starbucks, by comparison, had a 3.3 percent market share.

New home purchases down sharply in July

WASHINGTON – Americans cut back sharply in July on their purchases of new homes, a sign that higher mortgage rates may weigh on the housing recovery.

The Commerce Department said new-home sales dropped 13.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000. That’s down from a sales pace of 455,000 in June, which was revised sharply lower from a previously reported 497,000.

Other reports suggest higher mortgage rates could be slowing momentum. In July, builders started work on the fewest single-family homes in eight months.

Economists expect the housing recovery will persist. Even after July’s steep drop, new-home sales were 7 percent higher than a year ago.

P&G CEO gets 5 percent pay hike for final year

NEW YORK – Procter & Gamble Co. gave former CEO Bob McDonald a pay package worth $15.9 million during his final full year at the helm of the world’s largest consumer products maker, representing a 5 percent increase from 2012.

McDonald’s retirement was announced abruptly in May, with the maker of Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste facing pressure to improve its results. He was replaced by his predecessor A.G. Lafley, who was given a prorated pay package of $2 million, federal documents show.