Business briefs

Weyerhaeuser to sell sawmill

FEDERAL WAY - Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the world's largest lumber and paper producers, said Wednesday it has reached a deal to sell its sawmill in Kamloops, British Columbia and associated timber harvesting rights to International Forest Products Ltd.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal includes annual harvesting rights to 24.7 million cubic feet of public land timber.

The agreement is subject to approval from Weyerhaeuser's board and regulatory approval. The deal is expected to close by the fourth quarter.

Wall Street

Bush expresses confidence in market

WASHINGTON - President Bush struck a reassuring tone Wednesday about recent turbulence on Wall Street, saying he believes the markets will work their way through the turmoil safely and achieve a "soft landing."

Bush, in his most extensive remarks on a gyrating stock market that has sent investors on a rollercoaster ride, expressed confidence that investors would eventually calm down. The president said he expects investors to reassess their risk and begin to focus more on the economy's fundamentals, which he said are solid and sound.

Investors are concerned about a worsening housing slump and possibly a widening credit crunch - an uneasiness of recent weeks that they fear could permeate the financial system and the national economy.

Real estate

Home sales expected to reach five-year low

WASHINGTON - Nationwide home sales will hit a five-year low this year, as wary lenders cut back on loans for many borrowers, a trade group for real estate agents said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors' revised forecast calls for existing home sales of 6.04 million in 2007, down 6.8 percent from last year. The forecast was 1 percent lower, or 70,000 fewer homes, than July's prediction of 6.11 million.

This year's sales would be the lowest since 2002, when sales hit 5.63 million. Last year's sales were 6.48 million.

Next year, the trade group expects sales to climb to 6.38 million, up slightly from the forecast it gave in July of 6.37 million.


News Corp. earnings up after Journal deal

NEW YORK - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. reported higher earnings in its latest quarter Wednesday, one week after the media conglomerate wrapped up a three-month campaign to buy Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co.

Murdoch, speaking on a conference call with analysts and reporters, said he had high hopes for Dow Jones' potential, saying there was no better company to exploit the "burgeoning demand for global financial information."