Business briefs

Published: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 31, 2004 at 11:34 p.m.

Dollar closes the year up against the euro

  • NEW YORK - The U.S. dollar closed out the year Friday by recovering a bit from its record low against the euro earlier in the week, but the currency is likely to slide further in 2005 as pressures from investors continue, analysts say.
    The euro was quoted at $1.3546, versus Thursday's record high of $1.3667, in late New York trading. Analysts say the dollar's incremental recovery reflected extremely thin pre-holiday trading, rather than any changed sentiment in the market.
    Despite the New Year's Eve uptick in the dollar's value, concerns about the expanding U.S. budget deficit and trade gap will continue to dampen investor enthusiasm for the dollar.
    The market also does not expect the Bush administration to intervene to support the dollar, unless it plunges quickly. Administration officials have repeatedly said that the market should set the dollar's value.

    FDA OKs Pfizer drug for pain from diabetes

  • NEW YORK - Pfizer Inc. said Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its medication for pain caused by nerve damage from diabetes or shingles, but it is still under review for treating partial seizures in adults.
    Pfizer said that Lyrica is the first FDA-approved treatment for this pain, often described as burning, tingling, sharp, stabbing or pins and needles in the feet, legs, hands or arms.
    It said the types of pain that Lyrica treats are different from arthritis or musculoskeletal pain.
    The company estimates that about 3 million diabetes sufferers in America will develop painful nerve damage during the course of the disease while roughly 150,000 Americans develop nerve damage because of shingles each year.

    Parent of Aloha Airlines files for bankruptcy

  • HONOLULU - The parent company of Aloha Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, joining four other U.S. air carriers seeking to restructure under court protection.
    ''It will be business as usual as we move forward to complete the restructuring of our company,'' said David A. Banmiller, who became Aloha Airgroup's president and chief executive in mid-November.
    Reservations for future travel will be taken, tickets will be honored, and flights will operate as scheduled, he said.
    Aloha's local rival, Hawaiian Airlines, is expected to emerge from bankruptcy reorganization this month. The other large air carriers in Chapter 11 are ATA, United Airlines parent UAL Corp. and US Airways Group.

    Hot line takes calls on holiday flight problems

  • WASHINGTON - The government now has a hot line for people to call with complaints about flight disruptions during the Christmas holiday weekend, the Transportation Department's inspector general said on Friday.
    Thousands of travelers were stranded after two airlines canceled hundreds of flights because of computer and staffing problems.
    Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta asked Inspector General Kenneth Mead to look into the snafus at US Airways and Delta subsidiary Comair, which grounded 1,100 flights on Saturday because of a computer problem.
    People who were affected by travel disruptions or who have information about them should call (866) 670-3341 or send an e-mail through the inspector general's Web site at, Mead said.
    - Compiled from The Associated Press
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