Business briefs: Sarasota business woman tapped to speak at national conference

March 4, 2014 

SARASOTA -- Roxanne Joffe, founder and integrative strategist of MagnifyGood and president of Sarasota's CAP Brand Marketing, is the featured speaker during the 23rd Annual Women's Leadership Conference.

The national conference, hosted by the Oklahoma State University Center for Executive and Professional Development, teaches women entrepreneurs how to enhance leadership skills, develop career goals, and continue personal growth. Lou Kerr, founder and chairwoman of the Oklahoma International Women's Forum and president and chair of the Kerr Foundation in Oklahoma City, invited Joffee to speak March 5 at the conference.

As founder of three strategic communications firms, Joffe helps organizations solve complex communications issues using today's technologies in a resource-challenged world. She leads The Patterson Foundation's strategic communications team, using innovative methods and techniques in the philanthropic arena. Joffe's session, "A Toolkit for Balance," focuses on her journey through life, both as a woman and as an entrepreneur.

March sales will be test of U.S. auto demand

DETROIT -- March is the month to watch for the U.S. auto industry.

Sales have been slower than expected so far this year. As the spring thaw begins, automakers will see if the slowdown was due to historic cold temperatures and snowfall -- as many believe -- or if there are deeper reasons for sagging demand.

Automakers entered 2014 expecting to sell more than 16 million cars and trucks for the first time since the recession. But so far, sales are on pace to hit around 15 million, which would be 600,000 less than last year. But some analysts believe sales will recover to reach 16.3 million for the year.

Bitcoin exchange looks into criminal complaint

TOKYO -- The Tokyo bit

coin exchange that filed for bankruptcy protection blamed theft through hacking for its losses Monday, and said it was looking into a criminal complaint.

In an announcement posted on the Mt. Gox exchange's website, CEO Mark Karpeles outlined the events that resulted in the company's insolvency and said there was a "high probability" theft was behind the disappearance of bitcoins.

He said Mt. Gox will try to resume business as a way of increasing repayments to its creditors.

U.S. construction spending up 0.1 percent in January

WASHINGTON -- U.S. construction spending showed a tiny increase in January as strength in housing helped to offset declines in nonresidential building and government projects.

Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in January, significantly slower than an upwardly revised 1.5 percent gain in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

Economists had expected the January weakness, believing that construction, like other parts of the economy, would be slowed by the unusually cold weather. However, the expectation is that builders will see better gains once spring and warmer weather arrive.

Herald staff and wire reports

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