Business briefs


Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 10:14 p.m.

Tech stocks gain most in day of mixed results

  • NEW YORK - Wall Street stalled in quiet trading Tuesday as investors booked profits from the New Year's rally and searched for new reasons to buy. Prices closed narrowly mixed, with technology stocks showing the biggest gains.
    Selling had been expected following the big advance a day earlier, and analysts said the absence of vigorous buying did not mean the market was losing momentum.
    The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 5.41, or 0.1 percent, at 10,538.66. The Nasdaq composite index closed up 10.01, or 0.5 percent, at 2,057.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.45, or 0.1 percent, to 1,123.67.

    Factory orders fall in November after gains

  • WASHINGTON - Orders to U.S. factories, after posting two months of solid increases, fell by 1.4 percent in November, the biggest decline in seven months. But analysts viewed the drop as a temporary blip in what has been an improving picture for American manufacturers. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that while a number of sectors suffered declines in orders, the weakness was concentrated in communications, which saw orders plunge by 41.1 percent.
    Demand in all categories of durable goods was down 2.5 percent, a slightly smaller drop than the 3.1 percent originally stated in a preliminary report two weeks ago. It was the biggest decrease in durable goods in more than a year.

    Auto industry tailors ads to target minorities

  • DETROIT - Automakers increasingly are targeting the black, Hispanic and Asian-American communities with tailored advertising, as the purchasing power of minorities grows.
    Whether they're selling a Toyota Camry or a Jaguar S-Type, companies are no longer taking a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.
    The share of such targeted marketing in overall marketing budgets has grown about 11 percent over the last five years, said Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore. Companies spend about 9.8 percent of their marketing budgets on blacks, 16.2 percent on Hispanics and 3 percent on Asians, he said.

    Process of picking Stewart jurors tricky

  • NEW YORK - Lawyers picking through jury questionnaires for the Martha Stewart trial face the tricky task of predicting how potential panelists might lean based on answers to queries that could be as simple as what their favorite TV show is. The process falls somewhere between psychological analysis and mind-reading, legal experts say. And the stakes are huge: The 12 people ultimately selected will decide whether Stewart lands in prison or goes free.

    Judge gives OK for Enron bankruptcy plan

  • HOUSTON - Enron Corp.'s roadmap for emerging from bankruptcy received a New York judge's initial blessing Tuesday and will be sent to creditors to accept or reject the plan that will pay them a fraction of what they are owed. The 1,400-page disclosure statement Enron prepared for its more than 24,000 creditors explains how the company imploded in 2001 and how it aims to carry on after emerging from Chapter 11. The plan proposes paying most creditors about one-fifth of the approximately $66.4 billion they are owed.
    -Compiled fromThe Associated Press
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