Business briefs

Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 10:41 p.m.

Wall Street hits lowest levels of year so far

  • NEW YORK - Stocks slumped in listless trading Monday amid concerns about the upcoming Iraqi election and rising oil prices. The major indexes closed at their lowest levels of the year.
    Market watchers were growing increasingly concerned about January's slide in stocks, which some analysts blamed on Wall Street's strong fourth quarter performance.
    The Dow Jones industrials seesawed in and out of positive range through much of the day, closing down 24.38, or 0.23 percent, at 10,368.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.12, or 0.35 percent, to 1,163.75. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 25.57, or 1.26 percent, to 2,008.70.

    Dollar only slightly up vs. euro despite rally

  • FRANKFURT, Germany - The dollar ended little changed against the euro Monday after a report showed that the world's central banks are increasingly stocking up on euros.
    The 12-nation euro was quoted at $1.3048 in late New York trading, down slightly from $1.3051 late Friday. The British pound was trading at $1.8793, down marginally from $1.8797 late Friday, while the dollar bought 102.72 yen, up slightly from 102.67; 1.1851 Swiss francs, up a bit from 1.1846; and 1.2244 Canadian dollars, up from 1.2211.
    The dollar staged a minor rally last week following some positive news about the U.S. economy, pushing the euro below the $1.30 level.

    Monsanto to buy seed company for $1 billion

  • ST. LOUIS - Agribusiness Monsanto Co. said Monday it will buy vegetable and fruit seed company Seminis Inc. for about $1 billion in cash, looking to capitalize on the trend of healthier diets while further migrating from its chemical herbicide business.
    Monsanto said it will assume an additional $400 million in debt by Seminis, the Oxnard, Calif.-based supplier of more than 3,500 seed varieties to commercial fruit and vegetable growers, dealers, distributors and wholesalers in more than 150 countries.
    With competition continuing to erode Monsanto's dominance in herbicides, the maker of Roundup has increasingly focused on seeds for future profits.

    Cingular profits down; results skewed by deal

  • ATLANTA - In results skewed by its blockbuster acquisition of AT&T Wireless Services Inc., Cingular Wireless LLC swung to a loss in the fourth quarter but said Monday it was heartened by its status as the nation's largest mobile phone provider.
    The net addition of 1.8 million customers in the quarter, bringing its total customer base to 49.1 million, shows that the merger completed Oct. 26 appears to be gaining traction, telecom analyst Jeff Kagan said.
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