Pizza Hut reinvents its offerings; winter makes its return to the northern United States. Here are the top news stories of the day for November 11, 2014.
A Billion Dollar Divorce
Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm was ordered Monday to pay nearly $ 1 billion in a divorce settlement with his ex-wife Sue Ann Hamm. The Oklahoma City judge actually ordered the oil magnate to pay $995.2 million, with approximately one-third to be paid by the end of the year and the remaining paid in installments of more than $7 million per month. Sue Ann Hamm has already been awarded approximately $25 million since the case was first filed in 2012. The ruling is subject to appeal. The divorce trial took almost 10 weeks and ended in October. To secure the judgment, the judge placed a lien on 20 million shares of Continental stock.
Pizza Hut Reinvents Pizza
Yum Brands Monday announced plans for a significantly revamped menu at Pizza Hut restaurants, including a honey sriracha crust, new sauces and premium ingredients, including fresh spinach and cherry peppers. The new products launch will take place Nov. 19. In an interview with CNBS, chief marketing officer Carrie Walsh said ‘today’s consumer is always looking for new flavors.” Pizza Hut is trying to attract consumers with more customization options as well as a greater mixture of flavors. It also is testing “skinny’’ versions of its pizza in low-calorie form.
New York Ebola Doctor Released
The New York City doctor who became the first person in the city to test positive for Ebola is being released from Bellevue Hospital Center Tuesday. Craig Spencer, 33, who had been in Guinea treating Ebola patients in service with Doctors Without Borders, was admitted on Oct. 23 after a spike in a fever which he self-reported. He was placed in isolation immediately, but his infection made big news in the big city after it was learned he was out in public for a few days before getting sick. Doctors say his release Tuesday, 19 days after reporting himself ill, is a sign that Ebola is not necessarily a fatal disease and can be treated.
Winter made its return a few weeks early Tuesday, as parts of the Upper Midwest were hit with as much as 16 inches of snow and airports and roads were closed throughout the area. From Montana to Michigan, snow and sub-zero temperatures moved into the area overnight Tuesday Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan were due for more snow Tuesday morning. The cold air went as far south as Dallas and the Texas Panhandle early Tuesday morning. The icy temperatures are expected to keep the northern half of the nation locked in until early next week.
Small Business Report Jumps Up
The National Federation of Independent Business said its Small Business Optimism Index gained 0.8 points to 96.1 in October as companies announced plans to invest and were having a harder time filling available jobs. Twenty-six percent of business owners said they planned to spend money expanding their own company with purchases of machinery and land, and that was the second highest reading on that statistic since 2008. Almost one-quarter of small business owners said they had job openings they could not fill. "Historically, readings this high only occurred in periods of strong growth," NFIB economist William Dunkelberg said in a released statement.
Homebuilding Orders Up for Horton
The country’s largest homebuilder Tuesday announced better-than-expected quarterly revenue and said orders for new homes jumped 38 percent in that period. D. R. Horton Inc., said the number of homes sold rose 25 percent to 8,612 in the fourth quarter ending Sept. 30. Horton caters to people buying their first or second homes. The Commerce Department earlier reported that new home starts nationwide rose 6.3 percent in September after a 14.4 drop in August. Horton’s revenues from home sales, excluding land sales, jumped 33 percent to $2.40 billion and was above the average analyst estimate of $2.38 billion.