Stocks close up; The Westport Village Grand Opening is this weekend - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Stocks close up; The Westport Village Grand Opening is this weekend

Wall Street apparently needs only the slightest hint of good news to bring out investors. The Labor Department reported before the opening bell Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 last week. Not much of a number, but enough for stocks to turn positive.

The Dow is up 34.03 points to close at 12,063.  The Nasdaq also closed up 32.36 points at 2,462.

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Kroger has agreed to pay $16 million to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by 12 current and former employees.

The workers claimed in the 2001 federal lawsuit that Kroger blocked promotions of black employees and paid them less than whites.  A judge hasn't yet approved any agreement in the suit, which was filed in Louisville by employees in six states on behalf of blacks working for Kroger nationwide since 1998.

Kroger says the money will be placed in a fund and disbursed among black employees who meet certain criteria.

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Toyota is not immune to the sales downturn of pickup trucks and SUVs.

The company says it will slow production of Tundra pickup trucks and Sequoia SUVs at its Princeton, Indiana plant because of a decline in demand for the vehicles.

Toyota plans to stop production of the vehicles for six days by the end of August.  The company says it's an effort to avoid layoffs.

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When Underhill Associates began the renovation of the old Camelot Shopping Center on Westport Road, it was this weekend they had in mind.  It's the Grand Opening weekend for the new Westport Village.

The redesigned shopping area has about 170,000 square feet of restaurant, retail, and specialty shop space.

Suzanne Tiano of Westport Village explains, "Right now we are about 75% leased.  There will be about forty stores open this weekend, with a few more coming in that are getting ready to start construction, open up, then we have a few more leases in the works...one unique thing about Westport Village, all our tenants here, all of our stores here, are locally owned. We feel we have our own niche here in Louisville."

The Westport Village Grand Opening is Friday and Saturday.

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You may have one in your garage or basement today.  The Hula Hoop is 50 years old.

The two men with the idea and the trademark called their company Wham-O and charged $1.98 for the first Hula Hoop. It has sold more than 100 million.

How popular was the Hula Hoop?  So popular that the former Soviet Union banned the toy as a symbol of the emptiness of American culture.

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