Business briefs

Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2003 at 12:33 a.m.

S&P notches up to post best quarter since 1998

  • NEW YORK - Wall Street ended a stunning second quarter quietly Monday as fund managers spent the day repositioning their holdings, but the narrow losses didn't stop the Standard & Poor's 500 index from achieving its best quarterly gain since the final three months of 1998.

  • The Dow Jones industrials and the Nasdaq composite index claimed their best quarter since the last quarter of 2001.

    The S&P 500, the broadest of Wall Street's major indexes, closed down 1.72, or 0.2 percent, at 974.50. For the quarter, the S&P rose 14.9 percent.

    The Dow declined 3.61, or 0.04 percent, to 8,985.44. The Nasdaq on Monday fell 2.46, or 0.2 percent, to 1,622.80.

    Waste Management to trim payroll by 600

  • HOUSTON - Waste Management Inc. said Monday it will reduce its work force by 600 and eliminate 200 contract positions as part of a plan to reduce its markets and streamline costs.

    ''The decision to reduce our work force is always very hard; however it is our responsibility to shareholders to enhance our competitiveness,'' A. Maurice Myers, chairman and chief executive of the nation's biggest trash hauler, said.

    Monday's announcement is the second job reduction for Waste Management this year.

    BIS: Many countries face possible deflation

  • BASEL, Switzerland - Many countries are facing a serious possibility of deflation, though the weakness of the dollar should prevent it from happening in the United States, the Bank for International Settlements said Monday.

    ''Given the current low level of inflation and the uncertainty of forecasts, the possibility of episodes of declining prices . . . cannot be ruled out,'' the BIS said in its annual report.

    In contrast, the recent decline in the dollar strengthens prospects for growth in the United States and lessens the probability of deflation there, it noted. The dollar has fallen almost 35 percent from its early 2002 peak against the euro and 12 percent against the yen over the same period.

    White House proposes more credit protection

  • WASHINGTON - Consumers should get free credit reports each year along with information to help them ensure accuracy and prevent fraud, the Bush administration said in a proposal Monday.

    Such measures should be enacted in a renewal of the Fair Credit Reporting Act - parts of which are to expire Jan. 1 unless Congress extends them, the administration says.

    ''Recovering one's identity is a long, stressful and painful process,'' Treasury Secretary John Snow said. ''We need to make it more difficult to take one's identity and much easier to re-establish one's identity.''

    Disney World laying off 100 crafts workers

  • LAKE BUENA VISTA - Walt Disney World is laying off about 100 carpenters and decorators, the company said Monday.

    The cutbacks represent less than 2.5 percent of the resort's maintenance staff. Expected to benefit are hundreds of other workers who had their hours reduced in April from an average of 40 hours a week to an average of 35 hours.

    ''It doesn't reflect a change in our business because, in the end, the hours are about the same level as they were before,'' Disney spokeswoman Rena Callahan said.

    - Compiled from The Associated Press

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