Friday, April 05, 2002

Business Digest

Motorola expects loss

        Motorola Inc.'s disclosure that it expects 2002 to be another money-losing year caused barely a ripple Thursday on Wall Street, where the company's turnaround isn't anticipated any time soon.

        Motorola shares declined 35 cents to $13.90 on the New York Stock Exchange following first reports of the company's proxy filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

        The cell-phone and semiconductor maker said in the proxy filing that it won't be profitable for 2002 once “uncertain” special charges are included.

Drug firm vulnerable

        Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. shares plunged as much as 23 percent, leaving it vulnerable to a takeover, after a strategy of offering discounts backfired and left the drugmaker with falling profits and few options for growth, analysts said.

        The world's biggest maker of cancer drugs said Wednesday that wholesalers, after stocking up last year, have plenty of inventory on hand to fill orders from pharmacies and hospitals.

Jobless claims murky

        Many more Americans filed claims for unemployment insurance last week, but the economic significance was clouded by a technical fluke. Laid-off workers seeking to take advantage of a federal extension for benefits were required to submit new claims.

        Economists continued to be optimistic that the jobs market was getting better.

        After having slashed payrolls, U.S. companies in February added jobs for the first time in seven months. The government will release the employment report for March today.

Economy may see boost

        Last year's mix of lower interest rates, rising money supply, and tax cuts could boost the U.S. economy more than most analysts expect, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President William Poole said.

        The central bank cut its benchmark overnight bank rate eleven times last year to 1.75 percent, the lowest in 40 years. President Bush also signed a $1.35 trillion tax cut spread over the next decade, with $38 billion in immediate refunds.

        “Last year's policy actions, combined with the economy's natural dynamics, provide the ingredients for a solid recovery,” Mr. Poole said.

Brewer may be bought

        South African Breweries Ltd., owner of Pilsner Urquell beer and a strong player in China and other emerging markets, confirmed Thursday it is in talks with Philip Morris Cos. Inc. about buying Miller Brewing Co., the second biggest U.S. brewer.

        Discussions are in a preliminary stage and no deal has been reached, South African Breweries said.


Andersen breaks up U.S. arm
Kings Island still a thrill in 30th year
Business derring-do tales inspire students
City, residents crossed wires
Tipsheet improved
Oil prices stabilize on hopes for peace
- Business Digest
Industry notes: Manufacturing
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