A service of The Associated Press

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved

The top business news from The Associated Press for the morning of Friday, Sept. 6, 2002:

House Panel Frustrated With Stewart

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A House committee investigating Martha Stewart's sale of stock in biotech company ImClone has ``reached the end of the road'' in trying to get her cooperation and may take legal action, a spokesman said Thursday. Possible courses of action include a referral to the Justice Department for potential criminal prosecution, said Ken Johnson, a spokesman for Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Johnson said that phone records obtained by the committee appear to contradict statements by former ImClone president and Stewart friend Sam Waksal that he did not speak to her or her agents between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5.

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Intel Narrows Its Sales Outlook

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Citing soft demand for computer processors by consumers and businesses, Intel said third-quarter sales will be within previous forecasts but at the lower end of the range. The chip-making giant said it expects revenues to be between $6.3 billion and $6.7 billion. Last month, it said sales would range from $6.3 billion to $6.9 billion. The company did not provide earnings estimates. Analysts expect the Santa Clara-based company to post third-quarter profits of 13 cents per share on sales of $6.9 billion, according to a survey conducted by Thomson First Call.

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Campbell Soup Profits Rise

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Campbell Soup posted a 6 percent increase in its fourth-quarter profits, and revenues were up nearly as much as the food maker completed the first year of its turnaround plan. Net income for the quarter ended July 28 was $55 million, or 13 cents per share, Camden-based Campbell said Thursday. Excluding the costs of Campbell's nearly complete reconfiguration of its Australian manufacturing operations, earnings per share would have been 14 cents. That matched the consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

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Back-to-School Sales Lag

NEW YORK (AP) _ Parents, nervous about job security and stock market volatility, didn't splurge on the latest fashions for their children in August, failing to give the nation's largest merchants a much needed lift for the back-to-school season. As retailers reported August sales Thursday, it was clear department stores and some mall-based apparel retailers were the hardest hit. But even Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Kohl's Corp., which have been the industry's star performers, posted results below Wall Street expectations.

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Tobacco Cos. Win Case

MIAMI (AP) _ A jury rejected a claim against four tobacco companies by a former flight attendant who blames her sinus problems on secondhand smoke in airline cabins. The six-member panel agreed Suzette Janoff suffers from sinusitis, rhinitis, allergies and other ear, nose and throat problems but concluded her on-the-job exposure to smoke was not the cause. Ronald S. Milstein, vice president and general counsel for Lorillard Tobacco Co., said Janoff suffered from pre-existing conditions that can cause sinusitis, her most serious illness.

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More Students Overusing Credit Cards

WASHINGTON (AP) _ More college students are overusing credit cards, academics and policy makers said as they urged Congress to do something about the problem. Eighty-three percent of undergraduates had at least one credit card last year, up from 67 percent in 1998, according to a study by Nellie Mae, a leading provider of student loans. The proportion of students with four or more credit cards jumped from 27 to 47 percent in that period, the study found. The Education Department found that more than 44 percent of college students carried a balance on a credit card during the 1999-2000 school year. Among those students, the average credit card debt was $3,066. It was the first year such data was collected.

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Study: Most Back Feds on Web Limits

NEW YORK (AP) _ More than two-thirds of Americans say it's OK for government agencies to remove public information from the Internet, even though many didn't believe it would make a difference in fighting terrorism, a new study finds. But Americans were evenly divided on whether governments should be able to monitor e-mail and Web activities, with 47 percent opposed and 45 percent in support. Since Sept. 11, several federal and state government agencies have removed data from the Internet out of concern the materials could aid terrorists.

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Diageo's Profit Up 25 Pct.

LONDON (AP) _ Diageo's profit swelled by 25 percent last year, due largely to strong growth in sales of its Smirnoff and Baileys liquor brands and to one-time gains on the sale of businesses. The results reported Thursday reflect the sale of the Pillsbury food business in October and its acquisition of the Seagram spirits and wines group in December. Diageo's transformation into a company focusing solely on drinks is now ``all but complete,'' chief executive Paul Walsh told a news conference. Diageo, the world's biggest liquor company, earned 1.62 billion pounds ($2.54 billion) in the year ended June 30 from 1.21 billion pounds a year ago.

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German Jobless Rate is 9.6 Pct.

BERLIN (AP) _ Germany's jobless rate dipped to 9.6 percent in August from 9.7 percent the previous month, but the number of jobless stayed above the 4 million mark, official figures showed. A total of 4.018 million people were out of work in Germany at the end of August, nearly 29,000 less than a month earlier but 229,000 more than in August 2001, the Federal Labor Office said in its last monthly report before the elections later this month. The total was the highest for the month since 1998, the year Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was elected on a pledge to slash unemployment that is now gnawing at his chances of winning a second term.

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Tellabs Is Cutting 800 More Jobs

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ Network equipment maker Tellabs said it is eliminating 800 more jobs, or 15 percent of its work force, and is closing a manufacturing plant in Shannon, Ireland, due to a continued sales slump. The company said it expects to post a loss in the third quarter on sales that will be down as much as 25 percent from the second quarter _ an announcement which sent its stock tumbling. It anticipates charges for restructuring and impairment totaling $110 million in the quarter. The job cuts are the latest in a series by Tellabs, whose equipment is used worldwide to transmit data, video and voice signals. It is among a number of telecommunications companies that have been crippled by a dramatic falloff in orders in a weakened economy.

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Attorneys: Move Rite Aid Trial

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Four former or current Rite Aid executives charged with participating in an accounting fraud scheme should not be tried in Harrisburg because heavy media coverage has tilted local sentiment against them, defense attorneys argued in federal court motions. Local publicity, including a news conference held by federal prosecutors the day the indictments were announced, ``stoked the fires'' that ``painted defendants in a decidedly negative light,'' defense attorneys said in the motion filed Wednesday.

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Markets

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks dropped sharply. The Dow on Thursday closed down 141.42, or 1.7 percent, to 8,283.70; and the Nasdaq sank 41.28, or 3.2 percent, to 1,251.03, its fifth loss in seven days. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 14.25, or 1.6 percent, to 879.15, its sixth loss in seven days. October crude futures rose 71 cents to $28.98 a barrel. October heating oil futures jumped 2.28 cents to 77.31 cents a gallon while October gasoline futures climbed 1.44 cent to 77.66 cents a gallon. In London, nearby October North Sea Brent crude futures jumped 56 cents to $27.66 a barrel. The price of natural gas rose to $3.342 per 1,000 cubic feet, up 14.9 cents.

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Gold Prices

LONDON (AP) _ Gold bullion opened Friday at a bid price of $317.80 a troy ounce, up from $317.30 late Thursday.

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Japan Markets

TOKYO (AP) _ The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues closed at 9,129.07 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, down 93.05 points, or 1.01 percent, from Thursday.

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Dollar-Yen

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar was trading at 118.34 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market at 3 p.m. (2 a.m. EDT) Friday, up 0.86 yen from late Thursday.

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