Thursday, January 23, 2003

Business digest

Compiled from wire reports

Kodak cutting up to 2,200 more jobs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Photography icon Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday that it will cut another 1,800 to 2,200 jobs, or about 3 percent of its work force.

The cuts were announced as the company reported a profit for the fourth quarter that fell short of Wall Street's expectations and its chairman cautioned that economic conditions looked tough for the year ahead.

Kodak earned $113 million, or 39 cents a share, in the fourth quarter compared with a loss of $206 million, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier.

Kmart CEO to get $1M after bankruptcy

TROY, Mich. - Julian C. Day, the new chief executive at Kmart Corp., will receive a base salary of $1 million and a bonus of another $1 million when the retailer emerges from bankruptcy.

A filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Mr. Day is eligible for other bonuses if the company performs well.

Kmart, which has said it hopes to exit Chapter 11 by April 30, is expected to file its reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court in Chicago by Friday.

SEC softens rules for firms' accountants

WASHINGTON - The five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission voted Wednesday to prohibit the two most senior accounting partners on a team auditing a company, and other partners deemed significant to the team, from working on that company's books for more than five or seven years.

A proposal that the SEC had issued for public review in November had extended the requirement for job rotation to all partners on a team.

The new rule and others governing accounting firms and auditors "will go a long way" toward preventing accountants from becoming too cozy with their corporate clients, SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins said.

Thief steals jewelry from Fed chairman

WASHINGTON - Police are investigating a burglary at the home of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in which an intruder made off with jewelry belonging to Greenspan's wife, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

She said the break-in occurred Jan 16 while a housekeeper was grocery shopping.

Web conferencing stocks hurt by move

NEW YORK - The stocks of some makers of Web-conferencing software fell sharply Wednesday after Microsoft Corp. made a move into the business.

Shares of San Jose, Calif.-based WebEx Communications Inc. fell $3.25, or 21 percent, to close at $11.95 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Raindance Communications Inc., of Louisville, Colo., skidded 87 cents, or 28 percent, to $2.22.

Centra Software Inc., which is based in Lexington, Mass., fell 3 cents to 97 cents.

Tuesday, after the markets closed, Microsoft said it had agreed to acquire privately held PlaceWare Inc., which provides Web-conferencing services.

Judge dismisses part of Simon lawsuit

DETROIT - A federal judge dismissed part of a claim by shopping mall giant Simon Property Group that accuses the Taubman family of illegally gaining control of Taubman Centers Inc.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts made the ruling Wednesday in response to a Taubman motion.

Indianapolis-based Simon has made several bids for Taubman, the most recent for $20 a share.

Interest rates fall in Treasury bill auction

WASHINGTON - Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Tuesday's auction with the rate on three-month bills dropping to the lowest level since the summer of 1958.

The Treasury Department auctioned $17 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.160 percent. Another $15 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 1.190 percent.

The three-month rate was down from 1.180 percent last week and was the lowest since three-month bills averaged 0.984 percent on July 28, 1958. The six-month rate was down from 1.230 percent last week and was the lowest rate on record.

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