Originally created 03/10/01

Busines briefs



Stocks take dive on Intel warning

NEW YORK - Stocks fell sharply Friday as investors, unnerved by an unexpected revenue warning from Intel, gave up hope that the economy and earnings would soon improve. The Dow industrials plummeted more than 200 points, and the Nasdaq composite dropped more than 100.

Investors found plenty of other reasons to sell. Late Friday, Cisco Systems became the third big high-tech company this week to announce a bleak outlook, following Intel and Yahoo!. And the government said the nation's employers created more jobs than the market expected, decreasing the chances of a big interest rate cut later this month.

The Dow skidded 213.63 to 10,644.62, ending a five-day winning streak. That run-up, however, enabled the index to end the week up 1.7 percent, or 178.31.

The Nasdaq composite index plummeted 115.95 to 2,052.78, its lowest close since Dec. 17, 1998, when it stood at 2,043.88. For the week, the Nasdaq lost 64.85, or nearly 3.1 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index dove 31.32 to 1,233.42. The S&P ended the week off 0.76, nearly 0.1 percent.

The latest tech selloff came as the Nasdaq approached the one-year anniversary of its record high close - 5,048.62 set March 10, 2000.

SEC scrutinizes Amazon.com chief

SEATTLE - The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating stock sales by Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos just before a negative report on the company was released.

The commission would neither confirm nor deny an investigation. The commission typically only makes investigations public when an action is taken, SEC spokeswoman Carol Patterson said.

Amazon spokesman Bill Curry said the Seattle-based Internet retailing giant wasn't aware of any investigation.

Mr. Bezos filed documents with regulators Feb. 2 and 5 stating that he intended to sell 800,000 shares of Amazon stock worth roughly $12.2 million. Mr. Curry confirmed Mr. Bezos did sell those shares.

Before that, Amazon executives received an advance copy of a research report compiled by Lehman Brothers that questioned the company's ability to continue operating through 2001.

Stock scheme bilks athletes

NEW YORK - Tennis star Steffi Graf and NFL player Brian Cox were duped in a mob-infiltrated stock fraud scheme that bilked investors of $50 million around the country and abroad, a source close to the investigation said Friday.

Ms. Graf, identified in court Thursday only as a professional tennis player, was scammed of more than $600,000 in a three-month period, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Mr. Cox, a former New York Jets linebacker, was identified in court only as an NFL player. The amount of money he lost was not disclosed.

Twenty people were arrested in connection with the fraud scheme, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Thursday.