Originally created 11/05/99

Business briefs: Markets close higher after bidding war



NEW YORK -- Stocks closed mostly higher Thursday after a bidding war over Warner-Lambert enlivened the drug sector and financial shares rose on the latest sign that inflation is under control.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.58 to close at 10,639.64.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 10-to-9 margin on the New York Stock Exchange. NYSE volume totaled 970.71 million shares as of 4 p.m., vs. 900.90 million in the previous session.

Dole Food announces job cuts

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. -- Dole Food Co. Inc. announced Thursday it will eliminate 1,500 jobs and terminate contracts affecting 7,500 more in Central America in a worldwide restructuring forced by weak European banana sales and the devastation of Central American operations by Hurricane Mitch.

The restructuring follows an $8 million third-quarter loss. The company said it also plans to sell noncore and underperforming assets, a move that could generate $100 million to $200 million during the next 18 months. A review to identify those assets is under way, the company said.

October consumer spending down

NEW YORK -- Consumers scaled back their shopping in October, signaling that the Federal Reserve's two interest rate hikes this year may be cooling off Americans' spending.

There still were a number of merchants -- including Sears and Neiman Marcus -- that reported better-than-expected October results.

The Merrill Lynch retail index, the investment firm's barometer of sales performance at department stores and discount chains, rose 3.8 percent in October, considerably below the 6.5 percent gain for the year to date.

Disney reports earnings drop

LOS ANGELES -- Walt Disney Co. reported that fourth-quarter earnings fell 37 percent as merchandising and other revenues continued to slump, and the company incurred a $132 million restructuring charge to reduce overhead.

Disney's net income for the three months ending Sept. 30 was $85 million, or 4 cents a share, on revenues of $5.78 billion, down from $196 million, or 14 cents a share, on revenues of $6.15 billion in the same period last year.