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Tuesday P.M. Report

Cargill sees earnings double, Cook pleads guilty to $190M Ponzi scheme, Best Buy among first Twitter advertisers, HickoryTech applies for $16.8M in stimulus funds.

Cargill sees earnings double: Strong harvests, cold winters and an improving economy helped Cargill more than double its earnings in its fiscal third quarter. Minnetonka-based Cargill earned $898 million in its fiscal third quarter, compared with earnings of $326 million in the same period a year ago. Excluding a one-time $169 million gain from the sale of its Brazilian poultry and pork business, the agriculture giant still earned $729 million. Read full story

Cook pleads guilty to running $190 million Ponzi scheme: Twin Cities businessman Trevor Cook pleaded guilty today to running a $190 million Ponzi scheme. Cook, 37, admitted to defrauding at least 1,000 people, telling them he would invest their money in a foreign-currency trading program. In reality, he used much of the funds to pay off previous investors and for personal purposes, such as buying the Van Dusen Mansion in Minneapolis. Read full story

Best Buy among first to advertise on Twitter with sponsored tweets: Twitter Inc. said today it plans to make money with sponsored tweets on search pages as it seeks to monetize the social network it has built over four years. Best Buy will be among the first companies to advertise. The “Promoted Tweets” will first feature messages from Richfield-based Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucksand Virgin America. Read full story

HickoryTech applies for $16.8 million in stimulus funds: HickoryTech Corp. said today that it has applied for a federal stimulus grant worth $16.8 million. The company would use the funds to expand its broadband network in Minnesota. Mankato-based HickoryTech would use the funds to add 418 miles to its existing 2,400-mile fiber-optic network and focus on Greater Minnesota. The total cost of the project would reach $24 million. Read full story