BY Staff and Wire Reports
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
1/23/13 at 2:57 AM
Microsoft poised to sell Surface Windows 8 Pro
Microsoft says the pro version of its Surface tablet will be available to purchase Feb. 9 in the U.S. and Canada.
Unlike the previous version that launched in October, the Surface Windows 8 Pro will use the full version of Windows 8, which is compatible with programs that run on earlier versions of Windows.
The tablet will be priced starting at $899 for the model with 64 gigabytes of memory.
The price includes the Surface Pen, which allows users to write or draw on the device. It does not include the Touch Cover keyboard, which sells separately for $120, or the Type Cover, which has depressible keys, for $130.
Microsoft hasn't released sales figures for the earlier version of Surface, which runs on Windows RT, a slimmed-down version of the operating system.
RT runs only apps bought on the Windows store and a modified version of Office that Microsoft included with the device. The pro version of Surface does not come with Office installed.
Williams Partners ups cash distribution
Williams Partners LP has increased its quarterly cash distribution to 82.75 cents per unit, the Tulsa-based natural gas infrastructure partnership announced Tuesday.
The payout will be made Feb. 8 to unitholders of record at the close of business Feb. 1. The partnership's new distribution is 8.5 percent higher than the 76.25 cents paid in February 2012.
Williams Partners owns and operates numerous gas processing and transportation assets, including the interstate Transco Pipeline. Tulsa-based Williams Cos. Inc. owns the controlling stake in Williams Partners.
Magellan Midstream increases distribution
Magellan Midstream Partners LP's board of directors announced Tuesday an increase in the fourth-quarter cash distribution to 50 cents per unit.
The payout will be made Feb. 14 to unitholders of record Feb. 6.
The distribution is 23 percent higher than the 40.75 cents paid for the same period a year ago, taking the Tulsa-based partnership's October two-for-one stock split into account.
Magellan Midstream is a refined petroleum and crude oil pipeline and storage company.
Returns on farmland hit six-year high
Fourth-quarter farmland returns were the highest in six years as values appreciated and crop harvests boosted income, according to an index from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries.
Returns rose to 9.56 percent, the most since the fourth quarter of 2006, the Chicago-based council reported Tuesday. Land appreciation accounted for 5.27 percentage points of the increase, while income from higher-priced crops was 4.29 percentage points.
For all of 2012, returns totaled 19 percent, up from 15 percent a year earlier and the most since 2006, NCREIF said.
The prices of corn and soybeans, the two largest U.S. crops, surged to record highs last year as a drought cut production. Wheat reached a four-year high in July and ended the year up 19 percent, more than any of the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor's GSCI Spot Index.
Corn Belt returns led all regions in the fourth quarter at 13 percent. The Southern Plains had the lowest returns in the quarter at 2.1 percent.