Originally created 02/10/00

Business briefs: Cisco edges giant GE in stock value



SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Internet equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. briefly pushed past General Electric Co. on Wednesday to become the world's second most valuable company, further highlighting the Web's growing influence on the economy.

Cisco's stock jumped to a high of $135 a share in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock pulled back to $128.62 1/2 by the end of the session.

General Electric's stock, meanwhile, fell $2.43 3/4 a share, to $134.75, on the New York Stock Exchange, finishing with a total market value of $441.2 billion.

Broader stock indicators were also lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 30.01, to 1,411.71, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 64.38 to 4,363.12.

Judge orders Coke case mediation

ATLANTA -- The Coca-Cola Co. and the plaintiffs in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company say they are pleased with a judge's order instructing them to try to settle the case through mediation.

Plaintiffs attorney Cyrus Mehri said the order comes at an important time for black employees who face layoffs as Coke cuts 6,000 jobs worldwide, including 2,500 in Atlanta.

In the lawsuit filed last year, four current and former employees contend Coca-Cola has discriminated against blacks in pay, promotion and performance evaluations. Their lawyers are seeking to have the case declared a class action, expanding it to represent more than 2,000 black employees in the United States.

Energy supply concerns boost prices

NEW YORK -- Crude oil prices jumped nearly 3 percent Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange on supply concerns and in spite of renewed speculation about OPEC production increases.

Crude prices increased after a Venezuelan official said no decision has been made on whether OPEC will increase supply after its agreement on lowered production expires next month. In addition, new data showed that gasoline inventories last week were down 12 percent from a year ago and that refinery utilization dropped by 3 percentage points last week, to about 85 percent.