Originally created 01/11/00

Business briefs



Media merger puts markets at new high

NEW YORK -- Technology and media shares led the Nasdaq composite to its biggest point gain ever and the Dow Jones industrials to a new closing high Monday as investors celebrated the $160 billion planned merger of America Online and Time Warner.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 167.05 to 4,049.67, while the Dow rose 49.64 to 11,572.20, topping Friday's record close of 11,522.56.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4-to-3 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume totaled 1.03 billion shares.

Aiken plant gets Army contract

A Pennsylvania-based armored weapons systems contractor with a manufacturing division in Aiken has been awarded a $23.7 million Army contract to provide 18 missile carrier vehicles to Greece and Denmark.

United Defense -- a $1.2 billion company -- manufactures combat vehicles and naval gun and launcher systems. The company's Aiken plant, a small-parts maker that employs about 200, will receive about 10 percent of the work provided by the contract, officials said.

No additional staffing will be necessary at the Aiken plant, but the contract to provide the M993 Multiple Launch Rocket System carriers is "one of the wide array of things we're doing in Aiken to allow us to maintain staffing," said Herb Muktarian, a company spokesman.

GM completes Saab purchase

DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. continued its international shopping spree Monday, picking up the 50 percent of Swedish automaker Saab Automobile AB it does not already own.

Ecuador will adopt U.S. currency

QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuador will gradually replace its currency with the U.S. dollar to stabilize its economy and prevent hyperinflation, government officials said Monday.

Under current exchange rates, 50,000 sucres are worth only $2.