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German Hacker Investigated in Web Attacks

Also, Home Depot sets up house in France; more on Alaska Airlines probe; and Raytheon is passed by for British fighter-plane contract.

A quiet Valentine's Day weekend brought no news of any arrests in last week's bombing on Wall Street or the online hacker attacks against many of the companies that trade there.

But a German newspaper did report Saturday that U.S. authorities were pursuing a lead on a hacker who may be based in Germany.

Authorities were investigating a hacker code-named "Mixter," whose software


or "barbed wire" evidently was used in the attacks,

Die Welt

newspaper reported.

In Other News

Elsewhere overseas, French homeowners looking to make some


improvements could soon find their supplies at a familiar U.S. outlet:

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. Report

. The Atlanta-based retailer is looking at buying French hardware chain


, and is believed to have already approached the Dubois family group of shareholders,

TheStreet Recommends

The Mail on Sunday

newspaper in London reported. U.K. retailer


owns 57% of Castorama.

The latest casualty of


(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report

cutbacks is consumer division president H. Eugene Lockhart, according to

Advertising Age

magazine. The magazine says his departure is part of the company's effort to shear $2 billion in costs.


, citing unnamed sources, added that Lockhart will be joining a small start-up company.

As airlines take a closer look at their tail parts in the wake of the Jan. 31 crash of

Alaska Airlines

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Flight 261, the Federal Aviation Administration's investigation will also examine Alaska Airlines' maintenance records and procedures, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey said on





likely will not win the British government's $1.2 billion missile order for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft,

The Sunday Times

of London reported. Prime Minister

Tony Blair

was instead expected to back

BAE Systems

and the

European Aeronautic, Defence and Space

company, the newspaper said.

Midwest Express Airlines


and its pilots' union tentatively agreed on a first contract for the airline's 330 pilots Saturday, averting the possibility of a strike. Details of the agreement were not announced.

In Japan, stocks dipped slightly in early Monday trading. The


average was down 65.08 points to 19,644.94, a loss of 0.33%.

Moviegoers had a "scream" this weekend, as the third installment in a horror trilogy,

Scream 3,

topped the box office with $16.4 million in estimated sales. It staved off newcomers

The Beach,

with $15 million,

Snow Day,

with $14.8 million and

The Tigger Movie,

with $9.2 million.

In the Papers

America Online


has abandoned its legislative crusade to guarantee that cable companies make home cable lines accessible to competitors,

The Washington Post

reports. In the wake of its purchase of

Time Warner


, AOL has backed away from its open-access lobbying efforts in a number of states including Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Michigan, the



Money manager David Mobley, whose Naples, Fla.-based

Maricopa Investment Funds

regularly boasts returns of more than 50%, is the topic of the cover story in the latest edition of


. Upon closer examination, the magazine found that the funds' finances are shrouded in secrecy -- they are not audited by a third party or registered with the


, the

Commodities Futures Trading Commission

or any state regulators.

And on the subject of secretive finances,


also examines Seattle-based

Upgrade International


, whose stock has exploded from 19 cents early last year to $89 in January. More amazing is that Upgrade has attracted so much money even though it has not yet filed a 10-K, 10-Q or proxy statement, thanks to a regulatory grace period.


also features an interview with William W. Baker of the firm

GARP Research

. His stock picks include

Mentor Graphics



American Power Conversion




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(PNR) - Get Pentair plc Report


Lands' End

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(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report


has not had as much success as AOL in recruiting customers, and the company has decided to change its focus, the Sunday edition of

The New York Times

reports. MSN is positioning itself as a sort of online problem-solver, the


reports, to help customers navigate shopping, research, finance and other aspects of the Web.

David Rheingold is a New York-based freelance writer. At the time of publication he had no positions in any of the securities mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.