Business briefs


Published: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 11:17 p.m.

Stocks begin first full week of '04 with gains

  • NEW YORK - Wall Street began the first full week of 2004 with a solid advance Monday, rising on encouraging interest rate news, a strong semiconductor sales report and an upbeat forecast from software firm Siebel Systems.
    Analysts noted that Wall Street was following its tendency to rise during the first weeks of the year, and that the market's momentum has carried over from 2003.
    The Nasdaq closed up 40.68 at 2,047.36, after a gain of 1.7 percent last week. It was the Nasdaq's highest close since Jan. 8, 2002, when it closed at 2,055.74. The Dow closed up 134.22, or 1.3 percent, at 10,544.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed up 13.74, or 1.2 percent, at 1,122.22.

    Dollar falls against euro, pound again

  • NEW YORK - The dollar sank to new depths against the euro and slipped to its worst level in 11 years against the British pound Monday after a Federal Reserve official said the risk of a dollar crisis was "quite low." Europe's 12-nation currency reached $1.2681 in New York trading before easing to $1.2669 late in the session. The British pound hit $1.8077, the first time the pound rose above $1.80 since September 1992. The dollar, weighed down by worries over the U.S. trade deficit and the surging budget deficit, has dropped about 5 percent against the euro in the past month.

    Time Inc. sells its direct marketing unit

  • NEW YORK - Time Inc. Monday sold its direct marketing unit, Time Life Inc., to privately held Direct Holdings Worldwide LLC, which is owned by Ripplewood Holdings LLC and ZelnickMedia Corp. Direct Holdings was formed last July to buy specialty catalog retailer Lillian Vernon Corp. On Monday, New York-based Time Inc., a unit of Time Warner Inc., said the combined company is expected to have over $500 million in annual revenue.

    U.S. auto sales drop to lowest level in 5 years

  • DETROIT - U.S. sales of new cars and trucks dropped to their lowest level in five years in 2003, but analysts and executives say a strong finish to the year, a bevy of new vehicles and an improving economy bode well for business in 2004. Despite record levels of consumer incentives, total U.S. sales were 16.7 million in 2003, about 1 percent lower than the previous year.
    General Motors Corp. fell short in its bid to increase U.S. market share for a third straight year in 2003 as the world's largest automaker.

    Jury selection process to begin in Stewart case

  • NEW YORK - Potential jurors in the upcoming trial of Martha Stewart will gather at a Manhattan courthouse today to fill out questionnaires to help lawyers decide which of them will hear the case. Lawyers for the government and the indicted homemaking maven will spend two weeks poring over the questionnaires, then convene in court Jan. 20 to interview some of the jurors in person.
    Stewart and her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, make their first appearances at the trial that day.
    - Compiled from The Associated Press
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