Originally created 09/24/98

Business briefs



Stocks see increase on rate cut hopes

NEW YORK -- Stocks shot higher Wednesday, adding 257 points to the Dow, as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan gave the clearest signal yet that he'll fight the global economic crisis with lower interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 3.3 percent to 8,154.41, its highest finish in a month, with more than half of the 257.21-point rally coming during the final hour of trading.

The gain, the fifth-biggest in points for a single day, lifted the Dow more than 200 points above this year's starting point of 7,908.25, but left the blue-chip barometer nearly 1,200 below the July 17 record of 9,337.97.

Broader stock indexes also surged as Mr. Greenspan told a Senate panel that Fed officials understand the need to act quickly in containing the global crisis, fueling hopes for an interest rate cut at next week's Fed meeting.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 36.46 to 1,066.09, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 62.47 to 1,760.27.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume totaled 902.88 million shares as of 4 p.m., up sharply from 687.19 million at the same point Tuesday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 7.76 to 376.00.

Company, college win grants

Savannah River Regional Diversification Initiative's board of directors on Tuesday awarded $184,000 in grants to Columbia County-based Infinity Manufacturing and Aiken Technical College.

Infinity, which makes seals and replica parts for centrifugal pumps, will receive $121,392 to develop and commercialize a new seal. Aiken Tech will receive $62,668 to expand programs at its Environmental, Safety and Quality Resource Center.

Known as Challenge Fund Awards, the money will help create high-paying, technology-based jobs, according to Tommy Stone, SRRDI chairman. SRRDI receives federal Department of Energy funds to support local economic diversification.