Originally created 01/17/97

Business Briefs



Stocks edge higher

NEW YORK - Stocks edged to new highs Thursday after recovering from an afternoon pullback spurred by another increase in interest rates in a jittery bond market.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained about 38« points, about 3 points better than Tuesday's record finish to give the red-hot blue-chip barometer its seventh new high in nine sessions. According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 38.49 to 6,765.37, barely beating Tuesday's record finish at 6,762.29.

Microsoft, Intuit agree on Internet banking standard

NEW YORK - Financial software rivals Microsoft Corp. and Intuit Inc. on Thursday proposed a unified technical standard which they said will make it easier to bank over the Internet.

The proposal, also announced with CheckFree Corp., a processor of Internet transactions, is a step toward allowing customers to use any available financial management software at the financial institution of their choice when banking online.

The proposed standard is called Open Financial Exchange. It is as if the technology providers were agreeing on a standard electrical socket design and asking lamp designers to make their lamp plugs fit the standard socket.

Federated chairman to step down in May

NEW YORK - Allen Questrom will step down as chairman and chief executive of Federated Department Stores Inc., ending a 30-year career with the company he helped pull from bankruptcy and grow into one of the nation's premier retailers.

Questrom, 57, will leave in May, handing over the responsibilities to James M. Zimmerman, who as president and chief operating officer since 1988 also played a large role in Federated's recent turnaround.

Wall Street was stunned by Thursday's announcement of Questrom's departure, but analysts said the new management team would likely follow through with the company's plans for earnings and growth.

McCrory plans to close 300 stores

YORK, Pa. - McCrory Corp. plans to close about 300 stores nationwide, leaving 3,500 people out of work, the York Daily Record reported Thursday.

The closings will leave McCrory with about 160 variety stores left nationwide, operating under several names, including McCrory, McLellan, H.L. Green, T.G. & Y., J.J. Newberry and G.C. Murphy.

McCrory has operated under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code since February 1992.

Most of the remaining stores will be concentrated in the eastern United States, though some "highly profitable" stores will remain in New Mexico, Arizona, northern California, Oregon and Washington, McCrory senior vice president Paul Weiner told the paper.

Liquidation sales are expected to occur from Jan. 24 to mid-April, Weiner said.