Originally created 12/29/00

Business briefs



Investor questions send stocks higher

NEW YORK - Stocks moved higher in heavy trading Thursday as investors contemplated earnings, the economy, their taxes and waning consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 65.60 to close at 10,868.76. The Nasdaq composite index rose 18.41 to 2,557.76.

Advancing issues outpaced decliners 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was 1 billion shares, down slightly from Wednesday's 1.05 billion.

California firm buys software maker

COLUMBIA - Computer Sciences Corp. has completed its $584 million acquisition of Mynd Corp., a manufacturer of software for the insurance industry.

Officials at El Segundo, Calif.-based CSC, which develops computer systems for analyzing insurance claims, said late Wednesday that Mynd was now under their control.

Mynd was established in Blythewood, S.C., in 1974 as a division of Columbia insurance company Seibles Bruce Group Inc. It will be merged with CSC's Global Financial Services Group, based in Texas.

Pete Boykin, president of CSC's financial services unit, said layoffs were expected, though he would not provide specific numbers.

Company settles packaging suit

WASHINGTON - Black & Decker has agreed to settle government charges that the company claimed some of its residential lock products were "All American Made" when they actually contained many foreign parts and were assembled abroad.

The Federal Trade Commission charged in a statement Thursday that Kwikset Corp. a Black & Decker subsidiary, used false or misleading advertising and packaging for its lock products in violation of the government's "Made in USA" standard.

Under the proposed settlement, the companies are prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which the Kwikset lock products are made in the United States. The companies don't admit violating any law by agreeing.

Mortgage rates hit 19-month low

WASHINGTON - Mortgage rates declined this week with rates for 30-year and 15-year mortgages remaining at their lowest levels in 19 months.

The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 7.13 percent, down from 7.17 percent last week, according to a survey released Thursday by mortgage company Freddie Mac.

Fifteen-year mortgages declined to 6.79 percent last week, down from 6.84 percent the previous week. On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.93 percent, down from 7.02 percent the week before.

Crowds lead Disney to halt admission

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Disneyland has been so crowded with holiday visitors this week that it has twice halted ticket sales in the middle of the day - for the first time in four years.

The amusement park stopped selling tickets Christmas Day at about 3 p.m. and again Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., spokesman Tom Brocato said.

"We suspended one-day ticket sales for a period of time because of the capacity in the park," he said. "We don't want it to detract from our guests' experience." Annual pass holders were still allowed entrance.