Business briefs

Published: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 at 12:03 a.m.

Stocks fall despite positive earnings

  • NEW YORK - Investors intent on collecting profits from Friday's big gains looked past a series of positive earnings reports Tuesday, sending blue chip stocks moderately lower. The falling dollar and rising price of oil contributed to the selling.

    The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 71.85, or 0.7 percent, at 10,528.66.

    Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 1.06, or 0.1 percent, at 1,138.77, while the Nasdaq composite index closed up 7.52, or 0.4 percent, at 2,147.98.

    Changes proposed in community-lending law

  • WASHINGTON - Federal regulators are proposing changes in a community-lending law that would ease requirements for an expanded group of smaller banks by demanding less frequent government reviews.

    The directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted unanimously at a public meeting Tuesday to propose the rule changes to the Community Reinvestment Act, the 1977 law that requires banks to make loans in low-income and minority areas where they operate as a condition for opening new branches. FDIC opened the proposals to public comment for 60 days.

    General Motors profits flat in fourth quarter

  • DETROIT - Financing operations and asset sales propped up earnings at General Motors Corp. in the fourth quarter as profits from the automotive business fell, but the company beat Wall Street earnings estimates and provided an optimistic outlook for 2004.

    The world's largest automaker said Tuesday its net income for the October-December period equaled the $1 billion it earned in the same period a year earlier. The most recent quarter's results, also boosted by special items, amounted to $2.13 a share, compared with $1.71 a share in the fourth quarter of 2002.

    Revenue rose to $49.1 billion from $45.6 billion a year earlier.

    Citigroup, Bank One top analysts' estimates

  • NEW YORK - Citigroup on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings that were up 96 percent from a year ago despite the write-off of millions of dollars in loans to the troubled Italian dairy Parmalat.

    Profits at Bank One Corp. were well above projections, while Wells Fargo & Co. earnings were in line with estimates even though mortgage originations fell sharply. U.S. Bancorp missed estimates by a penny.

    Continental earnings rise in fourth quarter

  • HOUSTON - Continental Airlines reported a net profit of $47 million in the fourth quarter despite higher costs, lifting itself up from a year ago by selling its interests in two travel Web sites.

    The Houston-based carrier said Tuesday that it earned 67 cents per share during the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $1.67 per share, or $109 million, during the same period a year earlier.

    Excluding income from sales of its interests in Hotwire and Orbitz, Continental reported an operating loss of $38 million, or 58 cents per share. On that basis, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected a loss of 80 cents per share.

    - Compiled from The Associated Press

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