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STOCKS IN CHILDREN’S play equipment manufacturers in Pennsylvania metro areas rose dramatically yesterday after a recent study showed children native to the region are spending more time away from consoles and TV, instead preferring outside recreation such as basketball. This comes in spite of unseasonably low temperatures across the Eastern Seaboard. Experts at MIT believe such outside play will make a marked contribution to reducing American children’s historically high levels of stress hormones.
LESS INVITING PROSPECTS are on the horizon, though, as analysts fear a brace of hostile takeover bids are in preparation for the two largest players in the play equipment industry. Industry sources described the moves as “unnecessary and unwanted”, evoking fears that local family firms will outsource or even move entirely to the less competitive, and more lucrative, West Coast markets.
GOOD NEWS FOR taxi firms, meanwhile, after third-quarter figures showed a remarkable upswing in bookings for transcontinental journeys. Having gambled on lower rates for journeys over 100 miles, the firms are reaping the benefits, with take-up particularly high among the young black male demographic. As drivers adapt to higher incomes, the outlook is bright for automobile-accessory manufacturers. Custom licence-plate and novelty car decoration sales are early beneficiaries of the trend.
AVERAGE WORKING DAYS are getting shorter, according to a report by the State Department. The study found that commuters are now arriving home closer to 7pm or 8pm, down from a high of up to an hour later. Lower long-distance taxi rates are believed to be a contributing factor, although concerns have been raised for drivers who then face long return journeys with little prospect of a paying fare.
UPSCALE PROPERTY PRICES have fallen farther than expected, claim real-estate agents in the Los Angeles area. The California Association of Realtors blamed greater ease and comfort of commuting, saying that previously exclusive, overwhelmingly white neighbourhoods were now within financial reach of affluent minorities. One recent transplantee to Westside, LA, spoke of his good fortune to us earlier. “It’s hard to believe,” said W.S., 22. “I moved here last week, and was just speechless. I felt like royalty, although it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m really supposed to be here. But I am. I can come home every day and just sit on my throne as the prince of Bel Air.”