Originally created 08/11/00

Business briefs



Earnings anxiety spooks tech stocks

NEW YORK - Markets closed mostly lower Thursday as technology stocks slumped on fears that earnings will decline during the second half of 2000.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 93.51 to 3,759.99, while the Dow Jones industrial average closed up a scant 2.93 at 10,908.76.

Declining issues slightly outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 936.96 million shares, down from Wednesday's pace.

Restaurant chain issues toy recall

KFC Corporation is voluntarily recalling 425,000 "Tangled Treeples" toys included with KFC kids meals. The bottom of the container can fit over a child's nose and mouth, posing a suffocation hazard to children younger than 3.

The toy consists of several animal figures inside a green, plastic container about 3 inches in diameter and 1.25 inches deep.

Consumers who have the toy are asked to dispose of it immediately if they have small children.

30-year mortgage rate drops

WASHINGTON - The nationwide average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell this week to the lowest level since late last year as fears lessened that the Federal Reserve will feel the need to boost interest rates further.

Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that fixed-rate loans dropped to 8.04 percent, the lowest level since 30-year mortgages averaged 7.96 percent for the week ending Dec. 24.

Private economists predicted that the fall in long-term rates should hold for the rest of the year; some said rates could even dip below 8 percent before year's end.

Credit card aims at young teens

ST. PAUL, Minn. - U.S. Bancorp and Visa are putting a fresh twist on the term "kiddie money" with the introduction of a prepaid card aimed at children ages 13 and up.

Parents determine the limit of the U.S. Bank Visa Buxx card, which looks like a credit card but has a prepaid spending limit. It can be reloaded at any time and is recognized by all merchants that honor Visa brand credit cards.

The card, the bank claims, is expected to serve as a tool to teach children about responsible spending. While the cards will carry the designated teen-ager's name, the monthly statements are sent to the parents.

Game firm wins Harry Potter rights

LONDON - The Harry Potter craze is soon to go interactive.

Electronic Arts Inc., the world's largest interactive entertainment software company, said Thursday it has received exclusive worldwide rights to develop, publish and distribute computer and video games based on J.K. Rowling's hugely successful Harry Potter books.

Financial terms of the deal with Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Brothers unit were not disclosed.