Friday, February 16, 2001

Business Digest

Going tough at Schwab

        Charles Schwab Corp.'s chief financial officer said a steeper-than-expected decline in trading by its customers may cut earnings more than forecast at the biggest online broker.

        Schwab's daily average stock trades fell 26 percent in January and continued to fall this month. First-quarter earnings per share now are expected to decline about 30 percent to 15 cents.

        “If things keep up at this level, achieving 15 cents will be quite tough,” CFO Christopher Dodds said.

ETrade on Big Board

        ETrade Group Inc., an online broker favored by Nasdaq Stock Market traders, moved its own shares to the New York Stock Exchange, where many older financial companies also are listed.

        ETrade began trading under the symbol “ET” at the 208-year-old exchange.

Unemployment drops

        New claims for state unemployment benefits declined last week for the first time in four weeks, but were still in a range indicating companies' appetite for workers has diminished.

        The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits fell by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000 for the work week ending Feb. 10, the Labor Department said. It was the first decline since Jan. 13.

15-, 30-year rates up

        Rates for 30-year and 15-year mortgages edged up this week, while one-year adjustable-rate mortgages slipped.

        The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 7.01 percent, up from 6.98 percent last week, according to a survey released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the mortgage company.

        Fifteen-year mortgages rose to 6.61 percent last week, up from 6.60 percent the previous week.

        On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.40 percent, compared with 6.45 percent the week before.

Alltel cuts 1,000 jobs

        Telecommunications concern Alltel Corp. is eliminating about 1,000 jobs, or 3.7 percent of the work force, through early retirement and layoffs so it can better compete.

        The announcement Thursday comes amid a slower economy and tough competition in the telecommunications industry. Verizon Communications Inc., the nation's largest local phone company, announced this month the equivalent of 10,000 job cuts to reduce costs. Makers of telecommunications equipment also are firing workers.

Anglo American to buy De Beers

        A group led by mining giant Anglo American PLC has reached an agreement to buy De Beers, the world's largest diamond company, for about $17.6 billion in cash and stock.

        The combined company under the deal announced Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa, would be the biggest mining group in the world.

— From Enquirer wire services


Casino cuts jobs, table games
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Court reopens P&G's lawsuit against Amway
Layoffs are first in Dell's 16 years
Thrill rides coming for kids
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Industry notes: Manufacturing
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