Originally created 09/26/00

Business briefs



Tech stock slump lowers market totals

NEW YORK - Stocks closed moderately lower Monday after technology stocks were unable to sustain an early rally.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 62.54. to 3,741.22, wiping out an early gain of nearly 65 points. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39.22, to 10,808.15.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a narrow margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 977.52 million shares, down from 1.17 billion Friday.Atlanta Gas, union begin talksAtlanta Gas Light Co. recently began negotiations with Teamsters Union Local No. 528 on a new contract. Both sides said Monday they hope to conclude discussions before the contract expires at the end of the month.

About 400 workers are under the contract, including employees in the Augusta area, company spokesman Nick Gold said. He added that he has "every reason to believe things are going well."

Union President Ken Hilbish said he also hopes to reach an agreement. No strikes have been planned.

"That's the last thing that we want to do," Mr. Hilbish said.

Atlanta Gas Light delivers natural gas to 1.4 million customers statewide. The utility company sold gas to consumers prior to industry deregulation last year.

Home purchases increase in August

WASHINGTON - Lower borrowing costs encouraged Americans to snap up existing homes in August, giving sales their biggest boost in 14 months. But economists said the rebound won't deter the Federal Reserve from leaving interest rates unchanged at its meeting next week.

The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales of previously occupied homes shot up by a surprising 9.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million.

Music goes live at rock cafes

ORLANDO, Fla. - After a decade of falling merchandise sales, Hard Rock Cafe hopes to bring in new business by taking the music down from the wall and putting it on the stage.

Approaching its 30th birthday, Hard Rock Cafe International is planning a new emphasis on live music in its 103 restaurants worldwide. Hours will be extended into the night for performances. The 55 restaurants actually owned by the chain will be redesigned or relocated to create space for live performances.