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Mixed messages in Metroplex business

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – TXU woes in Britain hit the stock hard. Motorola is coming to the Metroplex, bringing with it 800 jobs. And the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is one of almost a dozen metropolitan symphonies operating with a six-figure deficit. Time to look at the Metroplex. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Middays.

Can I say it, oy! Last week, Dallas-based power company TXU lowered its profit forecast by - a lot. Investors ran for cover. Then there was the news yesterday morning that a credit rating company in Great Britain was lowering TXU Europe to a junk bond status. Selling was so fast and furious Tuesday morning that trading had to be halted for an hour. Last week the stock was trading at about $40; today, around $16.

A couple of companies are moving to the Metroplex. Besides the welcome news of the second largest cell phone maker, Motorola, moving here from Illinois, Safety-Kleen is taking advantage of Plano's economic development incentives, leaving South Carolina. Safety-Kleen is the largest handler of hazardous waste. 300 new jobs are expected there.

It's been many years since classical music has been this hard-hit by the economy. Faulting the fall in the stock market, donors and endowments have severely cut their contributions to city orchestras. The Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras are in the red by $1.3 million. Dallas is right up there with an $850,000 deficit. Though attendance is up, my $35 ticket just won't cut it.

And how nice it is to take pride in what you built. Attach a whole lot of consumers agreeing and one should feel pretty good. Tuesday, J.D. Power and Associates announced the Arlington-built Cadillac Escalade ranked number one in luxury sport utility vehicles for initial consumer appeal. Rated was "design, content, layout and performance." We'll just ignore that last spring the Escalade had an above-average rate of problems in the initial quality category. For KERA Marketplace Middays, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m. To contact Maxine Shapiro, please send emails to