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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What are America's corporate leaders saying about the issues of the day? This week, TheStreet launches a new column to provide insight into what business executives are thinking. TheStreet's reporters, during the course of their weekly coverage, will pose a thematic question to the executives they interview.

This week's question


Have you been able to raise prices?


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CEO Rich Gelfond: "The theaters set the prices,

not us

; it's up to the exhibitors. But I, my own preference is they went up a lot in the last several years. I'd like to see that digested for a while and see where it goes. I think it's a long life, and you don't need to make all the money the first day, and I think over time, prices will go up because demand is so strong. But I hope the exhibitors don't push it too hard."

Savvis( SVVS) CEO Jim Ousley: "To date that has not been an issue. Any competitive cycle has its competitive pressures, but there's so much demand for these types of services that in general pricing has been relatively firm in most markets, so we don't see that as an issue today.

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CEO Eric Olsson: "We think we are at the beginning of an expansion phase, a long expansion phase. Adding to that, this outsourcing trend, and what we believe is a better pricing environment also, as volumes pick up.

We expect

strong volume growth and positive pricing will continue in 2011.


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asked Olsson if he sees room for price increases. "We believe so, and in fact we have raised our prices for the last three consecutive quarters, so we have been able to move them up," Olsson said. "We have not fully recovered from the price reductions that we saw during the recession. But like I said, we're optimistic at this phase in the cycle

which certainly historically has always been strong for pricing -- we think

that will happen this time as well."

Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Joseph Carrabbas

Cliffs Natural Resources

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CEO Joseph Carrabbas: "Yes that's right. And what's driving that is this new index pricing system." (Last year, the global iron-ore business shifted from annual benchmark contracts to shorter-term supply arrangements linked to the spot market, where prices are quoted on daily indexes.) "Everything drives off of that. The Platt's pricing, for instance, just continues to move up. It's above $190

a ton right now. You still have great demand into China

home to the world's biggest steel industry. And India has cut back on their exports; India is about a 100-million-ton-a-year exporter of iron ore. So that's really helping prices through the first quarter of the year. Then, in North America, the big steel mills announced better outlooks this earnings season on blast furnace utilization. We still believe we'll be in a sold-out position -- and that the situation won't change much through the rest of the year."

Ed Mueller, Qwest CEO



CEO Ed Mueller: "

We do

raise prices where we think it makes sense. In our consumer phone services, for example, on call-waiting and those types of features."

Ronald Shaich, Panera Bread chairman

Panera Bread


Chairman and former CEO Ronald M. Shaich: "

We'll continue

to adjust our pricing to reflect our underlying costs."

Panera Bread posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings as its profit and revenue surged, but Shaich said the company was not immune to commodity cost increases.

Panera instituted some modest price increases over the last few years to cover rising input costs. Shaich said the company rolled out price increases on select products in the first quarter last year after testing those increases in the prior October and November.

Shaich said Panera experienced higher costs in dairy and wheat, as well as significantly higher costs in coffee. He said Panera has historically been able to pass on underlying inflation costs to consumers. Food makes up about a third of the company's overall costs, he added.

Mosaic CFO Larry Stranghoener


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CFO Larry Stranghoener: "We like the supply-demand outlook. That doesn't mean it's not going to be a cyclical business with some ups and downs along the way, but we think the fundamentals should remain positive for some time to come. I think the biggest worry on the horizon would be if something happens in the world economy to cause demand for grains and oilseeds to somehow decline or grow at a lesser rate.

"About the only thing that comes to mind on that front is if the China story comes to a halt. China is a growth engine for so much of the world's economy when it comes right down to it. The same is true in the agricultural space. If something were to happen in China -- and it's hard to imagine what that might be -- but if there's something out there that causes their growth rate to tumble, I think that's the greatest external threat out there."



CEO Lanham Napier: "It has always been a competitive market,

but the cloud and hosting markets are not mature. I think

that gives us

a bit of a tailwind, but the trick here is not to abuse it."

Ingram Micro


CEO Gregory Spierkel: "

We live

in the IT sector, in a very competitive environment, all the time.

Competitive pricing pressure is not worse now than it was a year ago or two years ago."

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This article was written by staff members of TheStreet.