Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Business Digest

Buffett warns stocks may drop even more

OMAHA, Neb. - Sometimes the best investment move is none at all, billionaire investor Warren Buffett is telling shareholders of his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Buffett warns that the stock market may drop even more, according to excerpts from his annual letter to shareholders posted Monday on Fortune.com.

Buffett's assistant, Debbie Bosanek, confirmed that the excerpts were from his letter, which is set to be released in its entirety with Berkshire's annual report on the company's Web site Saturday.

Buffett did not return a telephone message left at his Omaha office Monday.

N.C chip maker amends Lexmark suit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Static Control Components, locked in a bitter fight with Lexmark International, added new charges to a previous antitrust lawsuit filed against the printer manufacturer.

The suit seeks at least $100 million in damages.

The company on Friday amended a suit it filed in December, one day after a federal judge in Lexington, Ky., temporarily barred Static Control from making or selling computer chips that match remanufactured toner cartridges to Lexmark printers.

Shire stock climbs on kidney drug optimism

LONDON - The stock of Shire Pharmaceuticals Group PLC climbed Monday after the British drug maker said it expects to launch its new kidney disease drug Fosrenol by the end of the year.

Shire, whose North American headquarters is in Florence, Ky., said it has received an approvable letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asking for more data and analysis.

More often than not such a letter leads to full approval.

Reduced fares boost revenues of United

CHICAGO - United Airlines said Monday it is pulling in an extra $20 million to $25 million per month in revenue because the sharp reduction in business fares it made eight weeks ago is attracting more passengers.

Bankrupt United issued a statement saying the lower fares have proven "good for United's bottom line," despite rival airlines' claims that the fare war was taking a toll on the revenues of not only other major carriers but United itself.

Six Continents PLC rejects hostile buyout

LONDON - Six Continents PLC, owner of Holiday Inn and Inter-continental hotels and several chains of pubs, rejected on Monday a hostile takeover bid worth $8.8 billion.

Six Continents said the offer, launched earlier in the day by food and drinks entrepreneur Hugh Osmond, gives shareholders "nothing they do not already own except significant risk."

Firm must pay for using Fuji's camera

NEWARK, N.J. - A company that recycled single-use cameras must pay Fuji Film Co. nearly $23 million for patent infringement, a federal judge ordered.

Jazz Photo Corp., a Piscataway firm, reloaded and relabeled used Fuji and Kodak cameras, and then sold them.

A jury in December agreed with Fuji Photo Film USA's claim that Jazz was stealing the technology. In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Faith Hochberg agreed - and ordered the smaller company to pay the Elmsford, N.Y.-based U.S. arm of the Japanese film giant $22.9 million in damages for relabeling 38 million of Fuji's spent cameras between 1995 and 2001.

Jazz denied it stole technology.

Rates mixed in Treasury bill auction

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

The Treasury Department sold $17 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.175 percent, unchanged from last week. An additional $16 billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 1.170 percent, down from 1.175 percent.

The six-month rate was the lowest since Feb. 10, when the rate was 1.165 percent.

- From wire reports

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