Business briefs

Published: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 10, 2005 at 11:15 p.m.

Stocks rise modestly with news of mergers

  • NEW YORK - Investors burdened by angst about upcoming earnings reports shrugged off a spate of mergers and acquisitions news Monday, leaving stocks with only modest gains.
    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17.07, or 0.16 percent, to 10,621.03.
    Broader stock indicators were moderately higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 4.06, or 0.34 percent, at 1,190.25, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 8.43, or 0.4 percent, to 2,097.04.
    - The Associated Press

    GM to reduce work force for sixth year

  • DETROIT - General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, plans to trim its U.S. work force again in 2005, part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs, chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said Monday.
    GM has trimmed its U.S. payroll every year since 2000, company figures show.
    Through the third quarter of 2004, GM reduced its U.S. hourly work force by about 6 percent versus the same period in 2003 - from 119,000 to 112,000, GM figures show.
    For the same period, its smaller, salaried work force declined by 5 percent - from 40,000 to 38,000.
    - The Associated Press

    Bayer consolidates its rights to Levitra

  • LONDON - Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Monday that Bayer Healthcare AG has paid more than 200 million euros ($260 million) for sole marketing rights outside the United States for the erectile dysfunction drug Levitra.
    Glaxo and Bayer Healthcare, a unit of Germany-based Bayer AG, previously had co-promotion rights for the drug across most of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Canada.
    Analysts said the move reflects the weak sales performance of Levitra in comparison to its competitors.
    - The Associated Press

    State Farm refunds available in Florida

  • Some Florida motorists may be eligible for refunds up to $20,000 as part of a national agreement to compensate individuals who unknowingly bought damaged or stolen cars from State Farm Mutual Insurance Co.
    The $40 million settlement, announced in Florida on Monday by the Attorney General's Office, will be shared by Florida and 48 other states and the District of Columbia. The settlement will provide refunds to 30,000 to 40,000 people who bought vehicles from State Farm after the insurer took title to them from policyholders due to damage or unrecovered theft.
    Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist said the company also will underwrite the costs of identifying the affected vehicles, identifying and contacting current owners, as well as taking and paying the claims.
    - Doris Chandler
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