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QWEST CUTS BACK: Qwest Communications International said it is cutting 4,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its work force, and said the nation's economic slowdown would mean lower-than-expected sales and earnings through at least the first half of 2002. Chairman and chief executive Joe Nacchio said he expected high single-digit percentage sales growth next year, compared with a previous forecast of about 15 percent growth. To make the job cuts, Qwest will not fill open positions and will continue streamlining operations, a process that began with the June 2000 acquisition of US West, a Qwest spokesman said. Qwest shares rose $1.76 to $19.90.
GATEWAY CUTS IRELAND, U.K. STAFF: Gateway Inc. said it will fire all 1,050 employees in Ireland and the United Kingdom as part of a plan to revive profit by concentrating on U.S. sales. Gateway last month said it would cut 5,000 jobs worldwide and halt business in Asia. The company said today it will stop selling computers in southeastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as Ireland and the United Kingdom. Gateway's shares fell 5 cents to $8.46.
NATURAL GAS DEAL: Dominion Resources Inc. is buying Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas Corp. for $1.8-billion in cash and stock. The deal also calls for Dominion of Richmond, Va., to assume $505-million in Louis Dreyfus debt. Louis Dreyfus of Oklahoma City is an independent natural gas production and exploration company operating primarily in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. The acquisition will increase Dominion's natural gas reserves by 60 percent.
TIRE COMPANY PLANS LAYOFFS: Michelin North America Inc. is cutting 2,000 jobs, or about 7 percent of its work force, citing a downturn in tire markets and the need to increase its long-term competitiveness. The company said in a statement that it hopes to complete much of the cuts through normal attrition and voluntary severance programs. The tiremaker, a subsidiary of France's Michelin, the world's No. 2 tiremaker, announced this spring it would cut $125-million in operating costs.
GOTO.COM CHANGING ITS NAME: GoTo.com Inc. said it will change its name to Overture Services Inc., citing the reduced role of its GoTo.com site. The ticker symbol for the company's stock will be changed to "OVER" and a Web site at www.overture.com will be created. The company charges businesses for priority placement of advertising in GoTo.com's search results. It also pays companies such as AOL Time Warner Inc. and Terra Networks SA to carry its search results. The name change will differentiate GoTo.com from other Internet companies with the word "go" in their name, including Walt Disney Co.'s Go.com, said chief executive Ted Meisel.
AOL SHARES RISE: Shares of AOL Time Warner climbed 6.6 percent following reports it was in talks to merge its cable business with that of larger rival AT&T Corp. AOL Time Warner's shares rose $2.13, while shares of AT&T fell 5 cents to $17.65. AT&T in July rejected a proposal from Comcast Corp. valued at $44.5-billion.
CRUISE LINE AMENDS RULES: Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. agreed to allow people with visual impairments to travel on its ships under the same terms and conditions as other passengers, the Justice Department said. The agreement is part of a consent decree reached with the department and signed by a federal judge in Miami. The agreement resolves a suit filed in January against Norwegian Cruise Line under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
MCCRORY DECLARES BANKRUPTCY: Discount operator McCrory Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the second time in nine years. Officials with the privately held company, which operates about 200 stores in several states, declined to comment on the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. "It's mainly just a liquidity crisis," said Laura Davis Jones, the company's bankruptcy attorney. "We have some stores that are not as profitable as they should be and are cash-drained." The York, Pa., company operates under the names McCrory, Dollar Zone, G.C. Murphy, J.J. Newberry and T.G.&Y., mostly in the Northeast.
BLUE-LIGHT SPECIAL GOES MOBILE: Kmart Corp. is testing an updated mobile version of its blue-light special that allows store managers to take the recently revived promotional tool anywhere in the store. The roaming cart is designed to complement Kmart's stationary blue-light displays, which were introduced in April and are found near the middle of each store. A spokesman said the new moving displays are being tested in a number of unnamed markets and could be introduced nationwide.
TREASURY AUCTION: Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills fell in Monday's auction. The Treasury Department auctioned $14-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 3.180 percent, down from 3.360 percent last week. Another $12-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 3.120 percent, down from 3.310 percent last week. The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors: 3.251 percent for three-month bills and 3.213 percent for a six-month bill. In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year constant maturity Treasury bills edged down to 3.43 percent last week from 3.44 percent the previous week.
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