Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Business Digest

Sears: Third-quarter results will be lower

        CHICAGO - Sears, Roebuck and Co. said Monday that the credit-card business that provides a majority of its profit is taking a hit from the worsening economy and will cause third-quarter results to fall short of expectations.

        The announcement sent its stock tumbling $5.39, or 14 percent, to $32.25 a share on the New York Stock Exchange. That's its lowest price since September 2001 and down from nearly $60 in early June.

        Sears said it now expects earnings from the quarter ended Sept. 30 to be between 80 cents and 82 cents a share, compared with 80 cents a year earlier.

        Sears reports third-quarter earnings on Oct. 17.

        Exxon, Union Carbide lose on asbestos denial

        WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court rejected calls by Exxon Mobil Corp., Dow Chemical Co.'s Union Carbide and other companies to halt a West Virginia asbestos trial that at one time involved claims by 8,000 people exposed to the cancer-causing fiber.

        The justices, without comment, let the trial that began Sept. 23 go forward, letting stand a West Virginia state court decision. The case, which had involved 250 companies, has been scaled back as all but a handful have settled.

        Companies had hoped the nation's highest court would reinforce limits it already has placed on sprawling class-action suits. Their appeal said lower courts are now using other devices, including “common-issues” trials, which subject companies to the risk of massive liability in a single proceeding.

        Greenspan: Banks weathered recession

        WASHINGTON - U.S. banks - hit by troubled loans over the past several years - have been able to weather the recession and stay in good health, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Monday.

        That's because banks had solid balance sheets going into the slump, and banks benefited from increased diversification, which allowed them to not only to better spread their risks across a wider range of customers but also to broaden their sources of funding, Mr. Greenspan said.

        “Our banks have been able to retain their strength in this business cycle, in contrast to the early 1990s when so many either failed or had near-death experiences,” Mr. Greenspan said to the American Bankers Association.

        Interest rates rise in Treasury bill auction

        WASHINGTON - Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities rose in Monday's auction.

        The Treasury Department sold $16 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.585 percent, up from 1.540 percent last week. An additional $14 billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 1.530 percent, up from 1.475 percent.

        Both the three-month and six-month rates were the highest since Sept. 23, when the bills sold for 1.610 percent and 1.580 percent.

        Palm introduces $99 handheld computer

        MILPITAS, Calif. - Handheld computer maker Palm, Inc. introduced its new Zire model to store shelves Monday, the company's first sub-$100 model it hopes will appeal to student and home family users.

        The $99 Zire has a sleek housing look differing from previous Palms, but doesn't boast any new software features that previous Palms haven't contained.

        Marvel offers common for preferred shares

        NEW YORK - Marvel Enterprises Inc., the entertainment and comic book publisher, Monday said that it would exchange preferred shares for common shares, an offer that could almost double the number of common shares outstanding.

        The company said each 8 percent cumulative convertible exchangeable preferred share tendered would be exchanged for 1.39 common shares.

        Pechiney to cut 202 jobs at W.Va. plant

        PARIS - French aluminum and packaging company Pechiney SA said Monday that it will cut 202 jobs at its Ravenswood, W.Va., facility.

        The company said the move, part of a restructuring plan, is aimed at returning the plant to profitability and improving customer service. The plant manufactures 150,000 tons of aluminum sheet annually for the transportation and aerospace industries.


Bush takes step to end port lockout
Taft-Hartley invoked
Tristate feeling lockout's ripples
What's the buzz?
Morning Memo
Smaller Webcasters may get song reprieve
Former WorldCom exec pleads guilty
Cricket farm hopping to keep pet stores going
Japan to delay limits on bank deposits
- Business Digest
Business Summary