Factory orders up, as is home-buying

WASHINGTON -- Orders to U.S. factories rose a surprising 1.3 percent in March with widespread gains in many industries offsetting a big drop in commercial aircraft.

Outside of the volatile transportation category, factory orders were up 3.1 percent, the largest amount in more than nine years.

A separate report Tuesday showed the number of buyers who signed contracts to purchase homes surged more than expected in March, another sign that tax incentives are propelling the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 5.3 percent from a month earlier to a reading of 102.9.

King St. restaurant to reopen after fire

Old Towne Grill and Seafood celebrates its reopening today, 10 months after fire gutted the longtime downtown Charleston dining fixture. At 4:30 p.m, the 38-year-old establishment will host Mayor Joe Riley and the firefighters who helped extinguish the blaze, which was ruled accidental, before opening to the general public for dinner at 5 p.m..

General manager Athan Fokas said the owners, his father, Spiro Fokas, and uncle, Steve Ferderigos, spent nearly $1 million renovating the space. He described the space as roomier and more modern. The menu remains the same.

Nissan is recalling Infiniti G35 models

WASHINGTON -- Nissan Motor Co. said Tuesday it will recall nearly 135,000 Infiniti G35 sedans and coupes to address a problem that could lead to the air bag not deploying in a crash. The recall involves G35 Coupes from the 2005 to 2007 model years and G35 Sedans from the 2005 to 2006 model year.

The automaker said the air bag unit's wire harness under the front passenger seat could wear down and interrupt the air bag's signal. In a crash, the air bag may not deploy and could increase the risk of an injury.

Nissan said there have been no injuries reported. If a vehicle's red air bag warning light has turned on, the owner can bring the car to a dealer for repair. For more information, owners can call Infiniti at 800-662-6200.

Drugstores boost net income at CVS

NEW YORK -- CVS Caremark said Tuesday its first-quarter profit rose 4.5 percent to $771 million on gains at its drugstores and its pharmacy-benefits management business.

Despite a weak flu season and bad weather, revenue at CVS drugstores rose 4 percent. Its pharmacy benefits revenue rose 3 percent. Overall revenue edged up to $23.76 billion, below Wall Street estimates of $24.12 billion.

Safety-gear maker to open in Pickens

PICKENS -- A safety-equipment manufacturer plans to put a plant in Pickens that will employ 45 people. Allegro Industries plans to invest nearly $4.5 million in the expansion.

Allegro makes industrial safety products, including respirators, respirator accessories and ventilator products. The plant will handle manufacturing, design, and research and development.

Pickens County Council approved two incentive packages this week, including land and a fee instead of property taxes on the operation. The plant should be open by mid-2011.