Business briefs

Published: Friday, January 16, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 10:01 p.m.

Blue chips see slight increase, techs fall

  • NEW YORK - Investors facing strong earnings but tepid revenue outlooks left stocks little changed Thursday, with blue chips slightly higher and tech stocks nudging the Nasdaq composite index lower.
    The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 15.48, or 0.2 percent, at 10,553.85. The Dow was down as much as 54 points earlier in the day. The Nasdaq composite index ended down 2.05, or 0.1 percent, at 2,109.08, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index finished up 1.53, or 0.1 percent, at 1,132.05.

    Pentagon: Halliburton should be investigated

  • WASHINGTON - Pentagon auditors say Vice President Dick Cheney's former company should be investigated for possibly overcharging the military for gasoline delivered to Iraqi civilians. The Defense Contract Audit Agency this week asked the department's inspector general to investigate Halliburton, Pentagon officials said. DCAA auditors determined last month that Halliburton subsidiary KBR may have overcharged by more than $61 million for fuel it bought in Kuwait and delivered in Iraq. The request for a deeper probe indicates DCAA auditors found evidence of possible violations of the law or federal regulations.

    Inflation rate under control going into 2004

  • WASHINGTON - Inflation was firmly under control as the new year began. Consumer prices rose by just 1.9 percent in 2003, while the underlying rate of inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, registered its smallest increase in 43 years.
    Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and other economists have said inflation is not now a threat to the economy. Their view was bolstered with Thursday's release by the Labor Department of the latest reading on the Consumer Price Index, the government's most closely watched inflation gauge.

    Enron accountant set to be charged next

  • HOUSTON - Now that prosecutors have secured a guilty plea and cooperation from Enron Corp.'s former finance chief Andrew Fastow, criminal charges against the company's former top accountant won't be far behind, sources told The Associated Press. Like Fastow, Enron's chief accounting officer Richard A. Causey answered directly to former Enron chief executives Kenneth Lay and his successor, Jeffrey Skilling.
    Authorities were preparing a criminal complaint against Causey on charges stemming from the Justice Department's two-year investigation of the energy giant's collapse, people close to the investigation said last week, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Gillette rolls out its souped-up new razor

  • BOSTON - There's a new Rolls-Royce for the serious shaver.
    Gillette rolled out a new high-tech, premium razor Thursday, a souped-up version of the Mach3Turbo featuring 62 patents and a tiny, battery-powered motor that emits pulses that work on the skin to prop up hair so it can be lopped off more easily. But the Rolls-Royce device, expected to hit North American shelves in May, will also come with a Rolls-Royce price tag: $14.99 for the shaving system (including a battery), compared to $8.99 for the Mach3Turbo.
    - Compiled from The Associated Press The Boston-based company said the gentle, electric hum of the "M3Power" not only reduces the need to shave over the same skin surface repeatedly, but even produces an agreeable massaging sensation.
    But the Rolls-Royce device, expected to hit North American shelves in May, will also come with a Rolls-Royce price tag: $14.99 for the shaving system (including a battery), compared to $8.99 for the Mach3Turbo. A 4-pack of blades will go for $10.99, a 15 percent premium.
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