U.S. stocks took a sharp downturn at midafternoon after spending most of the day paring early losses. Faring worst were large technology issues, most notably
Securities and Exchange Commission
suspended trading of bulletin board stocks
(RWIG:OTC BB) and
(CPZR:OTC BB) until March 2 because of questions about the accuracy of public statements made by the companies.
European bourses closed lower, and Japan's
lost 73.97 to 14,158.67. Most other Asian markets were closed for the New Year holidays.
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A federal judge gave the pilot's union of
until April 12 to defend itself against contempt-of-court charges stemming from the union's failure to report to work when ordered last week.
announced that 3,000 jobs will be eliminated in addition to the 7,000 cuts the company has already announced.
, publisher of the
tabloids, for $300 million, and will hire veteran magazine publisher
to run the company.
said it will close or sell between 15 and 20 factories and lay off 3,000 to 4,000 workers over the next four years. The company will take a $900 million charge for the restructuring.
call-buying on Heinz last week.
, which serves South Carolina and Georgia, announced that it will buy
Public Service Co. of North Carolina
for $900 million in cash, stock and assumed debt.
said it is in talks with potential buyers to unload its auto parts business for about $2 billion.
Aircraft parts manufacturer
is cutting 350 jobs, citing slack Asian demand and slumping oil prices.
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Dell matched Wall Street estimates with fourth-quarter earnings of 31 cents a share and announced a 2-for-1 stock split. But slowing earnings growth has the stock lately down 8 to 80 3/4.
is in talks with
to develop a closer business relationship and may purchase a minority stake in the company, according to
The Wall Street Journal
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said that home construction increased 3.8% in January to a 12-year high.
A South African prosecutor is considering bringing murder charges against the officers accused of the 1977 beating death of anti-apartheid leader
. Yesterday South Africa's
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
denied amnesty to three of the five officers. A fourth was denied amnesty in December, and the fifth has died since the killing, for which the officers have never admitted their culpability.
Indonesian police fired tear gas into a rioting crowd of 25,000 workers and protesters in Jakarta.
, Japan's No. 1 steel producer, called allegations that it and other Japanese steel companies are dumping exports "hard to understand."
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A 23-year old
pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors after being accused of setting two people on fire when they identified themselves as
Green Bay Packers
fans. In addition to paying a $200 fine and serving two years' probation, Siegmann -- the self-nominated "Grand Viking" -- will be assessed for drug and alcohol abuse.
Heisman Trophy was auctioned off along with other memorabilia for $430,000 last night. The proceeds will go toward the $33.5 million Simpson owes the families of
Nicole Brown Simpson
. The Heisman itself brought $255,500.
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