Saturday Briefing

Published: Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 1:10 a.m.

Dow hits 22-month high as earnings lift stocks

NEW YORK - The Dow Jones industrial average reached its highest level since mid-2002 Friday as investors greeted strong earnings from General Electric Co. and the technology sector. The market's major indexes were all up for a seventh week in a row.

GE's earnings helped reassure investors skittish following Intel Corp.'s disappointing revenue projections earlier this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 46.66, or 0.4 percent, at 10,600.51, a new 52-week high.

The Nasdaq finished up 31.38, or 1.5 percent, at 2,140.46, eclipsing the previous 2 1/2-year high reached Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed up 7.78, or 0.7 percent, at 1,139.83.

Continental CEO plans to leave at year's end

HOUSTON - Gordon Bethune, the colorful and blunt CEO who rescued Continental Airlines from near death after its second bankruptcy, is leaving the airline earlier than expected, along with a high-profile board member with whom he reportedly had a history of disagreements.

Bethune, 62, had been scheduled to leave in August 2006 when he turns 65. Instead he will retire effective Dec. 31 as chairman and chief executive and be replaced by president Larry Kellner, 44, the airline said Friday.

GE reports 47 percent increase in earnings

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - General Electric Co. reported its fourth-quarter profit rose 47 percent as industrial orders rose strongly, an insurance loss was reversed and a majority of the company's businesses achieved double-digit earnings growth.

The Fairfield-based conglomerate said Friday it earned $4.56 billion, or 45 cents per share, for the October-December period, up from $3.1 billion, or 31 cents per share, in the same period the prior year. The 2002 results reflected an after-tax charge of $1.4 billion.

Reporters banned from Stewart jury selection

NEW YORK - A federal judge left intact on Friday her ban on reporters watching jury selection in the Martha Stewart trial, rejecting arguments that her ruling unfairly keeps the public from monitoring the case.

U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said her primary concern is that the domestic style maven and her former stockbroker co-defendant receive a fair trial with an impartial jury.

Former banker fined for failing to cooperate

WASHINGTON - Former star investment banker Frank Quattrone, facing retrial on criminal charges of obstructing justice, has been fined $30,000 by securities regulators and suspended for a year from the industry for allegedly failing to cooperate in an investigation of his activities.

The National Association of Securities Dealers, the brokerage industry's self-policing group, announced Friday that a hearing panel had found Quattrone in violation of industry rules that required him to testify when asked in any NASD inquiry and imposed the civil sanctions.

At the same time, the NASD's top enforcement official said he would seek to have Quattrone permanently banned from the industry.

- Compiled from

The Associated Press

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