Originally created 11/30/00

Business briefs

Investors give techs another beating

NEW YORK - While blue chip stocks rose Wednesday, investors again punished technology issues for their bleak earnings prospects.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 121.53 to 10,629.11, but the Nasdaq composite index fell 28.05 to 2,706.93.

Declining issues traded evenly with advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1.10 billion shares, up from Tuesday's 1.02 billion.

Predatory-lending hearing set

State Sen. Vincent Fort of Atlanta will conduct a public hearing on predatory mortgage lending to allow victims to share stories and seek recourse.

The hearing will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Tabernacle Baptist Church on Laney Walker Boulevard.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says practices such as equity stripping, balloon payments and prepayment penalties create undue burden on borrowers and often result in foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Middle-class homeowners are the latest victims, but predatory lenders usually target the elderly, women and people less educated in finance.

Foreclosures by sub-prime lenders, many of whom employ predatory practices, have risen 232 percent in the past four years, Mr. Fort said.

Tiremaker meets recall demand

Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has produced all the replacement tires necessary to fulfill the company's recent recall effort.

With the exception of some smaller markets, mainly in the Midwest and upper Northeast, the waiting list demand for Firestone tires has been met, the company said this week.

The company has provided consumers with nearly 5.5 million tires in less than four months as part of its voluntary recall. The recall has involved 15-inch radial ATX, ATX II and certain 15-inch Wilderness AT tires.

Consumers and the federal government called the tires into question earlier this year after the tires were linked to a series of highway accidents.

Study: Sales rose during holiday

The latest statistics indicate sales and foot traffic were up across the board for retailers during Thanksgiving weekend.

Same-store sales rose 3.8 percent over the same three days last year, according to TeleCheck Services Inc., a leading check acceptance company.

Georgia's sales rose 4.2 percent. Sales in South Carolina rose 4.4 percent. According to the National Retail Traffic Index, weekend foot traffic was up 6.5 percent from 1999.

Railroad offers early retirement

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Southern Corp. said Wednesday it is offering voluntary early retirement to an estimated 870 nonunion employees as it continues to take steps to reduce operating expenses and increase efficiency.

The company said about 18 percent of its 5,000 nonunion employees are eligible. They must apply by Dec. 31 and elect to retire Jan. 1 or Feb. 1. Along with the early retirements, the company has announced at least 1,300 job cuts this year.

Net gains strong hold in Europe

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Internet penetration in European households has surged this year, prompted by a drop in connection costs, according to a report for the European Union Commission.

The report found that the percentage of households using the Internet rose from 18 percent in March to 28 percent in October. In Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, the rate topped 50 percent, besting even the U.S. level of about 40 percent.


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