Business briefs


Published: Thursday, April 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 at 10:59 p.m.

Wall Street ends session, quarter lower

  • NEW YORK - Wall Street edged modestly lower Wednesday, closing a turbulent quarter on a down note as the government reported weaker-than-expected growth in the manufacturing sector and OPEC signaled it would move ahead with a planned production cut.

    The Dow Jones industrials and the Nasdaq composite index ended the quarter of 2004 with losses, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index posted a modest gain.

    The Dow closed down 24.00, or 0.2 percent, at 10,357.70, after adding 222 points in the previous two sessions. The Nasdaq declined 6.41, or 0.3 percent, to 1,994.22. The S&P 500 lost 0.79, or 0.1 percent, to finish at 1,126.21.

    Factory orders rebound slightly in February

  • WASHINGTON - America's factories saw orders bounce back a bit in February, a sign that manufacturing is continuing to emerge from a three-year slump.

    The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that orders placed with factories increased by a modest 0.3 percent last month, compared with a drop of 0.9 percent in January. Although February's rebound wasn't as strong as the 1.5 percent increase economists were forecasting, it was still encouraging that factory orders managed to recover some ground last month.

    Tyco jurors ask judge for clarifications

  • NEW YORK - Jurors in the Tyco International case asked a judge Wednesday to clarify three counts related to the prosecution's charge that two former executives stole $38.5 million from the company by disguising it as forgiven loans.

    Three counts of grand larceny, the top counts against former chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski and former chief financial officer Mark Swartz, were the subject of the jury's focus on the 10th day of deliberations. State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus explained that one "aggregate count" covers the entire alleged $38.5 million theft in that charge. He said two additional counts refer to the individual amounts allegedly stolen by Kozlowski and Swartz, each with the other's help.

    Electronics retailers report strong quarter

  • MINNEAPOLIS - The country's two largest electronics retailers reported strong quarterly earnings on Wednesday, but only one of them is happy. A 51 percent earnings jump in the fourth quarter capped a "banner year," according to Best Buy Co. Inc. president Allen Lenzmeier. But at Circuit City Stores Inc., chief executive W. Alan McCollough said he was dissatisfied with his company's full-year loss of $89.3 million, despite of a 26-percent fourth quarter profit increase that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

    Software makers say rules may be needed

  • WASHINGTON - In a surprise shift, leading software companies acknowledge in a report to the Bush administration that the government might need to force the U.S. technology industry to improve the security of America's computer networks.

    The companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Computer Associates International Inc., said the Homeland Security Department "should examine whether tailored government action is necessary" to compel improvements in the design of computer software.

    - Compiled from The Associated Press

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