Originally created 10/31/00

Business briefs



Reliability gives Dow Jones big gain

NEW YORK - Investors fled the volatile technology sector for the relative safety of blue-chip stocks Monday, sending the Dow Jones industrials to their second straight 200-plus point gain.

The Dow closed up 245.15 at 10,835.77, a gain of 2.31 percent, after a 210-point gain Friday, but the Nasdaq composite index struggled, falling 86.96, to 3,191.40, after being off nearly 130 points earlier in the day.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.16 billion shares, compared with 1.08 billion Friday.

Coke accused of inflating stock

ATLANTA - The Coca-Cola Co. has been accused in a federal lawsuit of artificially inflating its stock price and misleading investors. The company calls the allegations "ridiculous."

The Philadelphia-based Carpenters Health & Welfare Fund, which manages about $80 million in assets, filed the suit late Friday in Atlanta.

The lawsuit accuses the company and senior executives of forcing major bottlers to buy $300 million to $400 million in soda concentrate last year to help the Atlanta-based beverage giant meet third-quarter revenue and earnings forecasts. Those results caused the company's stock price to rise during the fourth quarter, according to the suit.

Ford: 2004 will herald fuel cell car

DETROIT - The first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle from Ford Motor Co. will be available in 2004, the company said Monday, designed to resemble its popular subcompact sedan, the Ford Focus.

Pollution-free fuel cells, which use hydrogen to create electricity, have become the center of auto industry research. Many automakers, including Ford, General Motors Corp., DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and Honda have all committed to building small numbers of fuel cell vehicles by 2004.

Banks launch anti-crime measures

ZURICH, Switzerland - Responding to global pressure, 11 major international banks adopted voluntary measures Monday to fight the spread of money laundering and weed out shady customers.

The banks touted their standards as an important new weapon to stop money from criminal activities, such as drug trafficking and prostitution, from entering the banking system and seeming as though they are legitimate proceeds.

Old, new media companies to merge

NEW YORK - Primedia Inc., publisher of Seventeen, Modern Bride and New York magazines, agreed Monday to merge with online content provider About Inc. in a stock deal worth $690 million that will combine old and new media.

Under terms of the deal, About shareholders will receive 45.2 million shares of Primedia, or 2.34 Primedia shares for each About share. The $690 million price tag was based on Primedia's closing stock price Friday of $15.25 and About's closing price of $23.88.