Originally created 07/11/97

Business briefs



Stocks on rise as one-day slide ends

NEW YORK - Stocks rose Thursday, halting a one-day slide with help from some strong earnings reports and hopes that Friday's economic data will provide more justification for an optimistic inflation outlook.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44.33 to close at 7,886.76.

New location dedicated

APPLING - Columbia County's oldest car dealership dedicated its new location Thursday with more than 100 well-wishers in attendance.

"If it weren't for you, and all of our friends, we wouldn't even be here today," owner Bobby Culpepper said as the new, $1 million dealership at Interstate 20 near Appling was dedicated.

The company was bought by Mr. Culpepper's father, Bill Culpepper, in 1948.

It was located in downtown Harlem until the recent move to the new building, which features an inventory of about 200 vehicles and an expanded service department.

Culpepper is one of two Ford dealerships in Columbia County. Fairway Ford in Evans is the other.

Company won't honor benefits

CHICAGO - Days after Montgomery Ward & Co. filed for bankruptcy court protection, the troubled retailer said it was not obliged to honor severance and health insurance packages for 300 dismissed workers.

Benefits for the 300 employee who were let go on June 25 were frozen after Ward filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on Monday in an attempt to reorganize its business.

The company had promised health insurance and a minimum of two weeks pay, plus one week of pay for every additional year of employment beyond two years and unused vacation. Ward executives said they will ask a bankruptcy judge to reinstate the health and severance packages to these workers, but may face opposition for creditors who are also eager to recoup that money.

Stores sending refunds

CINCINNATI - Federated Department Stores Inc. said Thursday it has begun sending refunds to about 3,000 customers who were pressured to pay their bills after filing for bankruptcy-court protection.

"We wish we didn't have this situation. But we're just grateful it's just a small problem," Federated spokeswoman Carol Sanger said. "We're already in the process of making refunds to the people who were affected."

She said Federated examined its files after Sears, Roebuck & Co. admitted last month it had improper repayment agreements with 150,000 customers whose debts were resolved by filing for bankruptcy-court protection from creditors.

Clinton makes nominations

WASHINGTON -President Clinton nominated a Michigan economist and a New York banking consultant Thursday to fill vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board.

If confirmed by the Senate, the appointments of Edward M. Gramlich, 58, and Roger W. Ferguson Jr., 45, would bring the seven-member board to full strength.

The panel oversees the Federal Reserve System, which determines interest rates for millions of American consumers and businesses and regulates the nation's largest banking companies.

Mr. Gramlich, dean of the school of public policy at the University of Michigan, would fill the position left by Janet Yellen, who resigned to become chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. The term runs through Jan. 31, 2008.

Mr. Ferguson, a partner and director of research and information systems at McKinsey & Co., would fill the seat vacated by Bush administration appointee Lawrence Lindsey. It expires Jan. 31, 2000. Mr. Ferguson would become the third black member to serve on the board and the first since the 1986 resignation of a Jimmy Carter appointee, Emmett J. Rice.