Business briefs


Published: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 11:47 p.m.

Stocks mostly rise despite economic news

  • NEW YORK - Wall Street had a mild rebound after three straight losing sessions Thursday, with investors sending stocks mostly higher despite a sharp rise in unemployment claims and mixed holiday retail sales. Only the Nasdaq composite index posted a small loss.

  • The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25.05, or 0.24 percent, to 10,622.88.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 4.15, or 0.35 percent, at 1,187.89, and the Nasdaq fell 1.24, or 0.06 percent, to 2,090.00.

    Jobless claims surge more than expected

  • WASHINGTON - The number of new people signing up for jobless benefits shot up last week, highlighting the sometimes uneven nature of the recovery taking place in the labor market.

    The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance jumped by a seasonally adjusted 43,000 to 364,000, the highest level since late September. The over-the-week increase of 43,000 was the most since the end of March 2002.

    The latest snapshot of the labor market activity surprised economists. They were forecasting claims to rise last week to around 331,000.

    Walt Disney board separates top posts

  • LOS ANGELES - The board of The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it has amended its corporate governance guidelines to officially separate the offices of chairman and chief executive.

    In addition, the entertainment giant disclosed that Chief Executive Michael Eisner had received a $7.35 million cash bonus in 2004. With his salary of $1 million and other compensation, Eisner's total pay package was $8.3 million.

    Disney President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Iger was paid a cash bonus of $6.5 million. With his salary of $1.5 million and other compensation, Iger's total pay package was $12 million.

    Toys R Us revenue declines 1.4 percent

  • TRENTON, N.J. - Toy sales dipped 1.4 percent during the crucial holiday sales period at struggling Toys R Us Inc., which saw tiny decreases in U.S., international and Internet revenues, but may have gained some market share because of price discounts and selection.

    The nation's No. 2 toy retailer, which has been struggling against discounters such as No. 1 toy seller Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said Thursday it won't immediately discuss whether it will pursue splitting its global toy business from its Babies R Us chain, which sells baby furniture, clothes and accessories.

    Report: Alltel in talks to buy wireless firm

  • NEW YORK - Alltel Corp., the nation's sixth-largest wireless carrier, is in advanced negotiations about buying Western Wireless Corp., a Northwest regional carrier which operates mainly under the Cellular One brand, for roughly $4 billion, according to a published report.

    The New York Times said in Thursday's editions that unidentified executives close to the talks expect a deal could be reached within the next week, but also said several points remain unsettled and the talks could collapse. Andrew Moreau, a spokesman for Alltel, declined to comment.

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