Originally created 12/16/00

Business briefs



Tech stock dumping sends Dow into dive

NEW YORK - Spooked by an earnings warning from Microsoft, investors Friday dumped high-technology stocks in a selloff that quickly spread across the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 240.03 at 10,434.96, a 2.3 percent loss. For the week, the Dow was off 277.95, or 2.6 percent. The Nasdaq composite index dropped nearly 2.8 percent, falling 75.24 to 2,653.27 on Friday - bringing its weekly decline to nearly 9.1 percent, or 264.11.

It was the heaviest trading day ever on the New York Stock Exchange, where an estimated 1.55 billion shares changed hands.

The expiration of option contracts and futures contracts Friday, in what is called a "triple-witching," intensified the selling, but analysts said earnings concerns were responsible for most of Friday's losses.

Declining issues led advancers by more than 7 to 5 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was 1.55 billion shares, compared with 1.04 billion on Thursday.

Security Federal splits stock

The board of directors of Security Federal Corp. declared a 2-for-1 split of the company's common stock.

The stock split will be accompanied through a 100 percent stock dividend to be issued on or about Dec. 20 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 30.

Security Federal Corp. is the holding company for Security Federal Bank, which has more than $326 million in assets and 10 full-service branches in Aiken, Clearwater, Denmark, Graniteville, Langley, North Augusta and Wagener, S.C.

Gateway delays build-to-order plans

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Faced with an industrywide slump in personal computer sales, Gateway Inc. said Friday it will temporarily alter its build-to-order business model and carry some inventory in its showrooms.

The company known for its custom-built PCs said it will have several select models ready for immediate purchase at its 320 stores to accommodate holiday shoppers.

The temporary offer is an "exception" and not an indication that the company plans to change its business strategy, Gateway spokesman Brad Williams said.