IN BRIEF

CHICAGO

Lowe’s Cos. posts dip in profits in quarter

Repairs to drought-stricken flower beds and sales of freezers designed to hold bought-in-bulk food helped Lowe’s Cos. post a better-than-expected second-quarter profit.

But the nation’s faltering economy and sluggish housing industry still sent profit at the nation’s second-largest home improvement chain down nearly 8 percent.

For the period, Lowe’s earned $938 million, or 64 cents per share, in the three months ended Aug. 1, down from $1.02 billion, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose 2.4 percent to $14.5 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a smaller profit of 56 cents per share on lower revenue of $14.1 billion.

NEW YORK

Infrastructure spared storm damage; oil slips

Crude prices settled below $113 a barrel for the first time in more than three months Monday as Tropical Storm Fay steered clear of oil-producing infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell 90 cents to settle at $112.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier rising as high as $115.35. It was the first time crude ended below $113 since May 1. The contract fell $1.24 on Friday to settle at $113.77 a barrel, about $35, or 24 percent, lower than its trading record of $147.27, set July 11.

At the pump, a gallon of regular gasoline fell another penny overnight to a new national average of $3.741, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.

NEW YORK

Brinker International to sell Macaroni Grill stake

Brinker International Inc., the owner of the Chili’s Grill & Bar chain, said Monday it will sell a majority stake in Romano’s Macaroni Grill to a private equity firm.

Under the agreement, Brinker will sell most of its stake to Mac Acquisition LLC — a unit of San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital — for $131.5 million in cash. Brinker will then turn over $6 million to Mac Acquisition to keep a 19.9 percent stake in the brand.

Golden Gate Capital declined to comment.

Investors were largely expecting the sale. Its shares fell 60 cents, or 2.89 percent, to $20.19 Monday in what was below the company’s average trading volume.

WASHINGTON

Interest rates decline in Treasury auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday’s auction to the lowest levels in two weeks.

The Treasury Department auctioned $28 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.85 percent, down from 1.87 percent last week. Another $27 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 1.98 percent, down from 2.02 percent last week.

The three-month rate was the lowest since those bills averaged 1.71 percent on Aug. 4. The six-month rate was the lowest since those bills averaged 1.92 percent, also on Aug. 4.

The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,953.24, while a six-month bill sold for $9,899.90. That would equal an annualized rate of 1.885 percent for the three-month bills, and 2.028 percent for the six-month bills.

NEW YORK

Treasury prices rise as traders seek safety

Treasury prices rose Monday as political tension overseas and uncertainty about the financial sector sent investors searching for safety.

In late trading, the 10-year Treasury note rose 0.19 points to 101.47. Its yield fell to 3.82 percent from 3.84 late Friday, according to BGCantor Market Data.

The 30-year long bond rose 0.53 points to 100.88. Its yield fell to 4.45 percent from 4.47 percent late Friday.

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