Originally created 07/14/01

Business briefs



NEW YORK - Wall Street shook off early losses and extended its big rally Friday as investors grew more confident about an economic revival that has yet to become apparent.

Analysts were encouraged by the upturn because they'd expected a selloff after the market's rally Thursday, when the Dow industrials gained 237 points and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 103. With little positive news about earnings and the economy, investors have limited many buying sprees to one day at a time. Friday was the third straight day of gains for the Dow and Nasdaq.

"This is just a darn good follow-through to big gains," said Scott Bleier, the chief investment strategist at Prime Charter Ltd.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed Friday up 60.07 at 10,539.06, after falling as much as 46 in early trading. For the week, the Dow gained 286.38, or 2.8 percent.

The broader market also finished higher Friday and posted weekly gains. The Nasdaq rose 80.63 to 2,084.79 Friday and ended the week up 9.05, or 4.0 percent.

Wall Street's broadest measure, the Standard & Poor's 500 index, advanced 7.54 to 1,215.68 Friday. The S&P's weekly gain came to 25.09, an increase of 2.1 percent.

While Friday's session lacked noteworthy earnings news, the market had three positive economic reports in its favor Friday. The Labor Department said its Producer Price Index, which measures inflation before it reaches the consumer, fell 0.4 percent in June, the first decline since August.

A second report showed retail sales rose 0.2 percent in June, bumped up by strong sales of new cars. The reading was slightly lower than analysts were expecting.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners nearly 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange.

United Defense contract expands

United Defense received a $12.2 million contract modification from the U.S. military to produce seven additional armored combat vehicles, with the company's Aiken plant helping fill the order.

The value of the new contract is $118.1 million. Five of the additional M88A2 HERCULES recovery vehicles will go to the U.S. Marine Corps, and two will be delivered to the U.S. Army. In all, 44 vehicles are scheduled to be built.

Vehicles will be assembled and tested in York, Pa., with support coming from United Defense plants in Aiken and Fayette County, Pa.

Maytag gets OK for Amana buyout

NEWTON, Iowa - Maytag Corp. has received approval from federal regulators to proceed with the purchase of rival Amana Appliances.

The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that the companies can proceed with the deal, exempting them from the waiting period required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act, an agency spokesman said.

Maytag announced last month that it planned to buy rival Amana for $325 million from Goodman Global Holding Co., a family-owned company in Houston.