Business briefs


Published: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 31, 2005 at 11:36 p.m.

Lackluster quarter ends as stocks sag

  • NEW YORK - Stocks sagged Thursday, ending a lackluster quarter in negative range as investors weighed rising U.S. incomes and consumer spending against lofty oil prices, which rose following an investment bank's suggestion that energy was in the early stages of a bull market.
    The Dow Jones industrial average was down 37.17, or 0.35 percent, at 10,503.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.82, or 0.07 percent, to 1,180.59.
    The Nasdaq composite index fell 6.44, or 0.32 percent, to 1,999.23, down 8.10 percent since the year began.

    World Bank approves Wolfowitz as new chief

  • WASHINGTON - The World Bank approved Paul Wolfowitz as its new president Thursday, affirming the administration's choice of a Bush loyalist to take the helm of the 184-nation development bank.
    Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary who helped plan the Iraq war, will begin his five-year term on June 1.
    ''Nothing is more gratifying than being able to help people in need and developing opportunities for all the people of the world to achieve their full potential,'' Wolfowitz said after winning unanimous approval from the World Bank's 24-member board.
    The bank's stated mission is to fight poverty and improve the living standards of people in developing countries. It lends around $20 billion a year to developing countries for various projects, including roads, schools and fighting AIDS.

    Blockbuster to lay off staff at headquarters

  • DALLAS - Blockbuster Inc., the nation's largest movie-rental chain, plans to lay off up to 20 percent of its headquarters staff in Dallas and the suburb of McKinney, company officials said.
    Between 200 and 300 jobs will be eliminated, including open positions that won't be filled, company spokeswoman Karen Raskopf said Thursday. She said the reduction should conclude by the end of April.
    The cuts are designed to help offset an incremental $70 million that the company said it would spend this year on Blockbuster Online.

    Flight attendants nix Continental wage cuts

  • HOUSTON - Continental Airlines flight attendants rejected a tentative deal to cut wages and benefits, but the nation's fifth-largest carrier said it would implement concessions approved by other unions including those representing pilots and mechanics.
    Continental said early Thursday it would continue discussions with flight attendants, noting that their ''current levels of pay and benefits for flight attendants are not sustainable.''

    European Union slaps sanctions on U.S. trade

  • BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union head office said Thursday it will seek to impose additional sanctions of up to 15 percent on U.S. products to punish Washington for failing to repeal an antidumping law ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization.
    The European Commission said its action would be joined soon by seven other nations, including Japan, South Korea and Brazil, which had all requested that the WTO authorize retaliation.
    The European Commission's proposal still needs to be approved by the EU member states.
    - Compiled from The Associated Press
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