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Business Today

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 23, 2002

STOCKS FALL BACK: Investors cashed in some gains from two weeks of rallies Tuesday, sending stock prices lower. Analysts had expected the market to give back some of its advance, which over the previous eight sessions had boosted the Dow Jones industrials more than 1,200 points. The Dow closed down 88.08, or 1 percent, at 8,450.16. The Nasdaq composite index fell 1.3 percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 1.1 percent. "Given the strength of the rally, it was appropriate to expect a pause," said Jack Caffrey, equities strategist J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

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401(k) NOTICE REQUIRED: Beginning next year, participants in 401(k) plans will receive 30 days' notice before "blackout" periods that prevent employee access during administrative changes. The U.S. Labor Department issued regulations Monday. Effective Jan. 26, plan administrators must state: the reasons for the blackout; the duration of the blackout; how account access will be limited. Corporate insiders may not trade company stock or exercise options during the blackout.

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INTERNATIONAL HERALD-TRIBUNE DEAL: Hoping to extend its voice abroad, the New York Times is assuming sole ownership of the Paris-based International Herald-Tribune by buying out the Washington Post's partnership stake, executives said Tuesday. The New York Times and the Post have equally shared ownership of the paper since 1991. Details of the sales terms were not made public. New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said no job cuts or changes in operation or management were expected. The paper prints articles from the Post, the New York Times and its own staff.

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TEXAS INSTRUMENTS SHARES PLUNGE: Shares of Texas Instruments dropped 18 percent on Tuesday, a day after the company said fourth-quarter sales would decline as consumers spend less on personal computers and accessories. The Dallas chipmaker announced third-quarter earnings and 500 job cuts Monday afternoon after the close of the stock markets. Investors reacted dramatically to the news that TI's semiconductor revenues will decrease 10 percent next quarter. Shares declined 18.2 percent, or $3.12 each, to close Tuesday at $14.

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BRAZIL'S ORANGE CROP DOWN: Brazil will produce 350-million boxes of oranges in the harvest that began in July, 6.5 percent fewer than the government forecast, the president of the Brazilian Association of Citrus Exporters said. Oranges from the new crop are smaller than expected, contributing to the lower estimate, said Ademerval Garcia.

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WAL-MART EXPECTS EARNINGS RISE: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said it expects to earn $1.79 a share this year, higher than previously forecast. The discount retailer had earlier predicted annual profit of $1.76 to $1.78 a share.

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EXECUTIVES CHARGED: After a four-year investigation, the Canadian police on Tuesday charged the two founders of a Broadway theater group that staged hits like Showboat and Ragtime with defrauding investors and creditors of $325-million.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they had filed 19 charges of fraud against the two men, Garth H. Drabinsky, 52, and Myron I. Gottlieb, 59, who started the theater group, Livent Inc., in the late 1980s.

In addition, the police charged two other former Livent executives with taking part in the scheme to defraud investors and creditors.

The police said that the four men had falsified financial statements for nine years in an effort to misrepresent the financial health of the company.

Through his lawyer, Edward Greenspan, Drabinsky, the producer of several shows, including Phantom of the Opera, reiterated that he was innocent.

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