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AP Executive Morning Briefing

November 12, 2002

A service of The Associated Press

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved

The top business news from The Associated Press for the morning of Tuesday, November 12, 2002:


Capellas Resigns As H-P Executive

NEW YORK (AP) _ After just six months as No. 2 at Hewlett-Packard Co., Michael Capellas quit the computing giant and its difficult integration of Compaq Computer Corp. on Monday, apparently with an eye on another sizable challenge: the leadership of bankrupt WorldCom Inc. Capellas would replace John Sidgmore as chief executive at WorldCom, the Mississippi-based telecommunications provider that admitted a $9 billion accounting fraud and is mired in the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history. WorldCom spokeswoman Julie Moore would not comment on the CEO search. But HP’s announcement that Capellas was leaving to ``pursue other career opportunities″ came hours after The Wall Street Journal reported that he had become the front-runner to succeed Sidgmore.


Congestion Eases at West Coast Ports

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The turnaround time for container ships at the West Coast’s largest ports has returned to normal a month after a labor dispute and shutdown that stranded nearly 200 ships. But containers remained stacked high on the docks, and electronics, toys and other goods are still having trouble reaching stores across the country, officials said. Long strings of vessels were backed up by a 10-day lockout that was ended by a federal injunction Oct. 9. At the time, industry experts estimated it would take at least six weeks to get through the backlog.


May 3Q Profits Plunge 69 Percent

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ May Department Stores Co.‘s third-quarter earnings dropped 69 percent, as the company struggled with sluggish sales. The results, announced Monday, came in below analysts’ projections, which had been reduced last week after the company warned of disappointing sales. The St. Louis-based retailer earned $16 million, or 5 cents per share, in the period ending Nov. 2, compared to earnings of $52 million, or 16 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue fell to $3.05 billion from $3.20 billion in the third quarter of 2001. Excluding those costs, the company earned $22 million, or 7 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call projected earnings of 9 cents per share before onetime items.


Dell Selects Microsoft Software

AUSTIN (AP) _ For its emerging line of handheld computers, Dell Computer Corp. has spurned the handheld software offered by Palm Inc., and instead chosen Microsoft Corp.’s Pocket PC software. The new Dell Axim X5 handhelds, which go on sale next Monday for under $300 _ after a $50 rebate _ aim to take market share from Microsoft-fueled devices made by competitors Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Casio. The devices will be manufactured in Taiwan by Wistron Corp., and include 300 or 400 MHz Intel Xscale processors, said Dell spokesman Cody Pinkston. Dell’s forthcoming device is similar to others selling for $500 or more.


United Stock Rises on Workers’ Pact

CHICAGO (AP) _ Investors reacted optimistically Monday to United Airlines’ tentative cost-cutting agreement with flight attendants, pushing the carrier’s stock higher despite analysts’ renewed predictions of a bankruptcy filing. Shares in United parent UAL Corp. rose 29 cents, or 9 percent, to close at $3.57 on the New York Stock Exchange after initially shooting to $3.85. United said the agreement for $412 million in wage concessions from its 26,000 flight attendants over 5 1/2 years is in line with the airline’s plan to achieve $5.8 billion in labor cutbacks.


Tyson 4Q Earnings Beat Expectations

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) _ Meat producer Tyson Foods Inc. reported Monday its earnings climbed in the fourth quarter, reflecting last year’s purchase of beef processor IBP. The results beat Wall Street expectations. Earnings for the quarter were $84 million, or 24 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 28 compared to $48 million, or 22 cents a share, for the same period last year. Sales were $5.8 billion compared to $5 billion last year. Excluding the one-time items, Tyson earned 30 cents a share in the quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expected Tyson to earn 26 cents a share for the quarter before charges.


Study: CEOs Saw Rise in Pay in 2001

NEW YORK (AP) _ Salaries and other pay perks for chief executives rose last year in most industries, according to a research group’s study released Monday, even as the economy slipped and the stock market fell. The private, New York-based Conference Board said the biggest increases in 2001 were for executives in energy and construction businesses. It was last November that Enron Corp. began its collapse in an accounting scandal and sent a shock through the energy trading industry. As Enron declared bankruptcy and accounting troubles arose at other companies, including WorldCom and Adelphia, lavish pay arrangements for top executives began to receive criticism.


Westar 3Q Earnings Climb 21 Percent

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Westar Energy Inc., which state regulators have ordered to reorganize, on Monday reported a 21 percent increase in its third-quarter earnings, due in part to hot September weather. The company said it earned $43.6 million during the quarter ended Sept. 30, or 61 cents per share, compared with $36 million, or 51 cents per share, during the third quarter of 2001. Westar, the state’s largest electric company, took a one-time charge of 27 cents per share. The charge, announced in September, reflects how accounting rules apply to $400 million of the company’s more than $3 billion debt. Sales totaled $529.1 million, compared with $513.5 million in the year-earlier period.


Nasser Joins Bank One Subsidiary

DETROIT (AP) _ More than a year after his ouster as chief executive of Ford Motor Co., Jacques Nasser has become a senior partner at One Equity Partners LLC, the venture capital arm of Chicago-based Bank One Corp. Nasser, 54, was replaced at Ford in October 2001 after a bumpy 34-month ride plagued by eroding sales, questions about vehicle quality and the Firestone tire crisis. The automaker, now run by Bill Ford Jr., the great-grandson of Henry Ford, lost more than $5 billion last year. In his new position, Nasser will help One Equity Partners invest in various global industries.


Tyco’s Lord Michael Ashcroft Resigns

EXETER, N.H. (AP) _ The chief proponent of a plan to replace those Tyco International board members in office when the conglomerate’s chairman came under investigation for allegedly looting the company has resigned. Lord Michael Ashcroft said Monday he felt obligated to follow his plan by being the first to resign. Ashcroft’s resignation followed a board vote Friday to scrap a plan to retain, for continuity’s sake, two members of the board that served under L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former Tyco chairman and CEO now under state criminal and federal securities charges.



By The Associated Press

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 178.18, or 2.1 percent, to close at 8,358.95. The drop gave the blue chips their first three-day decline in five weeks, with a loss of 412 points. The broader market also finished lower. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 40.09, or 3 percent, to 1,319.19. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined 18.55, or 2.1 percent, to 876.19. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, nearby December crude oil futures rose 16 cents to close at $25.94 a barrel after rising as high as $26.50. Petroleum-product futures ended in negative ground. December heating oil futures ended down 0.3 cent at 68.85 cents a gallon, off a high of 70.15 cents, while December gasoline futures fell 0.24 cent to 71.04 cents a gallon. On London’s International Petroleum Exchange, December Brent closed up 21 cents at $23.79 a barrel after jumping as high as $24.30 a barrel. Natural gas for December delivery fell 12.5 cents to settle at $3.778 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Gold Prices

LONDON (AP) _ Gold bullion opened Tuesday at a bid price of $320.70 a troy ounce, up from $320.10 late Monday.


Japan Markets

TOKYO (AP) _ The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues closed at 8,464.77 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Tuesday, up 4.40 points, or 0.05 percent, from Monday.



TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar was trading at 119.78 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market at 3 p.m. (1 a.m. EST) Tuesday, down 0.12 yen from late Monday.


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