Thursday, October 11, 2001

Business Digest

Demand for housing falls

        Demand for new homes in the U.S. is showing signs of weakening as consumer confidence deteriorates a month after terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, preliminary results of a survey showed.

        In a survey of about 150 home builders in the past month, 41 percent reported a falloff in sales of more than 10 percent from the pace before the violence, David Seiders, chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders, told a panel at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Wednesday.

        Two-thirds of builders reported a “substantial” decline in the number of prospective buyers. Builders are scaling back construction plans, which means the housing portion of gross domestic product probably shrank in the third quarter and is on pace to fall this quarter, he said. Housing had been a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish U.S. economy. to cut jobs

        EBay Inc., the largest Internet auction company, plans to integrate its subsidiary into its own Web site in an effort to lure customers seeking goods for fixed prices. will fire 18 people, or 13 percent of its work force, to eliminate overlapping positions, EBay said. Twenty-seven of the unit's 134 workers will be offered transfers to EBay's main offices in San Jose, Calif., and to a customer-service facility in Salt Lake City, EBay said. EBay doesn't plan to reduce its staff.

Groove gets $51M

        Microsoft Corp. is investing $51 million in Groove Networks Inc., whose software allows for collaboration over different corporate networks.

        Beverly, Mass.-based Groove Networks was founded by Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie. Since launching the software earlier this year, Groove Networks has attracted customers such as drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Aer Lingus to lay off 800

        Ireland's national air carrier, Aer Lingus, said Wednesday it plans to cut 800 more jobs than the 1,700 reductions announced earlier in a bid to keep flying despite the travel slump that followed the U.S. terror attacks.

        The combined cut of 2,500 jobs amounts to 38.5 percent of the approximately 6,500 employees of the state-owned airline. Managers told employees in a letter that the layoffs would begin next month.

GE hires Blair's wife

        General Electric Co. lost the first battle when the European Union blocked its bid for Honeywell International. But the company is still pulling out the big guns.

        Among the international cast of lawyers listed on the appeal filed by GE last month is Cherie Booth, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to people who have seen it but spoke on condition of anonymity.

        Ms. Booth, while highly respected, is not known as an antitrust lawyer. She made her reputation in employment law, even taking her husband's government to court over the issue of parental leave.

        Her secretary said Ms. Booth could not comment due to client confidentiality.

        During its last attempt to have the merger approved, GE hired Stuart Eizenstat, a former U.S. ambassador to the EU, to lobby on its behalf. The European Commission issued a decision blocking the merger on July 3.


P&G to spin off Jif and Crisco
Gasoline prices flirt with $1.00 at a few stations
Charities' endowments in decline
Job mart on the Web
Legions of fans keep diners from going stale
Makino responds to reduced market
Polaroid trading halted
- Business Digest
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