Month on Wall Street ends on winning note

Published: Friday, November 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 1, 2002 at 12:48 a.m.
  • NEW YORK - Wall Street locked in its first winning month since spring and the Dow Jones industrials' second-best October on record Thursday.
    The month actually ended on a mixed note, with the Dow down nominally for the day after another spate of discouraging economic reports, but analysts said investors were upbeat over a three-week rally sparked by better-than-expected earnings.
    The Dow closed down 30.38, or 0.4 percent, at 8,397.03. The market's broader indicators were mixed. The Nasdaq composite index rose 3.02, or 0.2 percent, to 1,329.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.95, or 0.6 percent, to 885.76.
    U.S. sues TV merger
  • WASHINGTON - The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday to block a $22.6 billion merger between EchoStar Communications Corp. and Hughes Electronics Corp. that would have created the nation's largest pay-television service.
    The department said the merger would eliminate competition between the two largest satellite television companies and harm consumers across the country. The opposition comes despite concessions EchoStar offered last week to bolster a rival company and avoid concerns about a potential monopoly.
    "This merger would give EchoStar control of the skies for the provision of video programming by satellite, leaving customers to suffer from the resulting reduction of competition," said Charles James, assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division.
    Company's profits drop
  • NEW YORK - Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., struggling with an insider trading scandal involving its namesake chief executive, reported a sharp drop in quarterly earnings Thursday and announced plans for a new magazine that, in a first, will not bear the domesticity maven's name.
    The multimedia company, which produces magazines, TV shows and merchandise all under the Martha Stewart brand, also warned that fourth-quarter profits will fall well short of Wall Street earnings expectations, as it faces skittish advertisers, muted merchandising sales and higher corporate expenses related to the federal probe of Stewart's sale of stock in ImClone Systems Inc.
    There are also signs that consumers are starting to turn sour on the brand, as the company acknowledged a weakening in Martha Stewart Living magazine renewal rates and the company's signature program's TV ratings.
    Oil profit margins down
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. both reported deteriorated third quarter results Thursday as profit margins at both the oil and gas giants' refining operations shrank, offsetting a potential boost from higher prices for crude oil worldwide.
    Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil said its profit fell 17 percent mainly from a margin squeeze, while San Francisco-based ChevronTexaco, though pained by a margin drop-off of its own, said it swung to a loss largely due to a steep write-off of most of its investment in struggling energy merchant Dynegy Inc.
    -Compiled from The Associated Press
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