Originally created 01/19/00

Business briefs: Nasdaq index soars, but Dow tumbles



NEW YORK -- Technology stocks drove the Nasdaq composite index tantalizingly close to a new record Tuesday, while blue-chip shares slid as worries about rising interest rates distracted investors from strong fourth-quarter corporate earnings reports.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 162.26 to close at 11,560.72.

The Nasdaq rose 66.54, to 4,130.81, just shy of its Jan. 3 closing record of 4,131.15.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 7-to-5 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume totaled 1.01 billion shares as of 4 p.m.

Nursing home chain goes bankrupt

ATLANTA -- The nation's second-largest nursing home operator filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, blaming its misfortune on federal cuts in Medicare reimbursement.

Atlanta-based Mariner Post-Acute Network, which runs more than 400 nursing homes nationwide, said the 1997 Balanced Budget Act had cut its Medicare reimbursement by $115 per nursing home resident.

Two other large long-term care chains -- Louisville, Ky.-based Vencor and Albuquerque-based Sun Healthcare Group -- have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past six months.

Office: 1999 costly for insurers

NEW YORK -- Property and casualty insurers paid $8.2 billion in claims in 1999, making the year the fifth most costly in a half century but still less expensive than 1998, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Insurance Services Office Inc.

The New York-based ISO estimated that insurers spent $10 billion to settle claims in 1998.