Originally created 09/27/00

Business briefs



Warning from Kodak shakes up investors

NEW YORK - Stocks fell sharply Tuesday after an earnings warning from Eastman Kodak triggered yet another round of selling by investors already nervous about third-quarter results.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 176.83, to 10,631.32. The Nasdaq composite was down 52.12 at 3,689.10.

Declining issues narrowly outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume came to 131.68 billion shares, well ahead of the 1.18 billon in the previous session.

Poverty rate drops; incomes hit high

WASHINGTON - The nation's poverty rate dropped to 11.8 percent in 1999, the lowest since 1979, while median household incomes reached a record high, according to new Census Bureau data released Tuesday.

There were 32.2 million people living in poverty in 1999, 2.2 million fewer than the year before, according to the agency's annual report on income and poverty. The overall poverty rate in 1998 was 12.7 percent.

In addition, 16.9 percent of the nation's children were in poverty, also the lowest since 1979.

Lab admits obstructing gas probe

NEWARK, N.J. - A testing lab and three of its managers have admitted trying to derail a federal investigation into how doctored data allowed up to 300 million gallons of substandard gasoline to be sold in the New York metropolitan area.

Caleb Brett U.S.A. Inc. agreed to pay a $1 million fine because of the guilty pleas Monday and Friday from the managers. Caleb Brett is part of a British company, Intertek Testing Services Ltd.

The latest guilty pleas came a year after three other managers at its central New Jersey lab admitted they falsified data so gasoline designed to reduce air pollution would appear to meet federal standards.

Eastman Kodak's shares plunge

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Shares of Eastman Kodak Co. slid 25 percent Tuesday to their lowest level in more than six years after the world's largest photography company warned it will fall short of third-quarter earnings projections due to an unexpected falloff in demand for photography products.

Kodak predicted earnings would be 20 cents to 25 cents per share lower than its previously projected range of $1.56 to $1.66 a share.

Fourth-quarter projections could also be revised downward if current sales trends persist and worldwide economic growth continues to slow, Kodak said. The company will provide an updated view of the fourth quarter when it announces third-quarter results Oct. 18.

Consumer confidence edges higher

NEW YORK - Consumer confidence was stronger than expected in September despite higher energy costs, though analysts offered mixed views on what that means for holiday sales.

The New York-based Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 141.9, up slightly from the revised 140.8 reported in August. The index came in slightly higher than the 141.5 Wall Street analysts were expecting.

The Conference Board index, based on a monthly survey of about 5,000 U.S. households, is watched closely because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.