Originally created 10/18/01

Business briefs



NEW YORK -

Anthrax, Greenspan send Dow to 3-week low

A disappointing assessment of the economy and news that anthrax has been found on Capitol Hill squelched a surge of optimism on Wall Street on Wednesday and gave the stock market its worst day in more than three weeks.

The 151-point drop in the Dow Jones industrials was the biggest slide in the blue chip index since the first week of trading after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Nasdaq composite and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes also had their largest declines since that turbulent week.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's warning of a dip in productivity overshadowed a positive report on housing. And an announcement that the House will close today through Monday to test for anthrax quashed investors' enthusiasm about positive earnings from IBM and J.P. Morgan Chase.

The market's major indicators gave up solid early gains and retreated further as the day wore on.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers nearly 3-to-2 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume came to 1.42 billion shares, ahead of Tuesday's 1.21 billion shares.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -

Sprint lays off 6,000, eliminates 1,500 jobs

Sprint Corp., citing the weak economy and "a rapidly changing industry landscape," announced Wednesday it will lay off about 6,000 employees, or 7 percent of its work force, and eliminate 1,500 contract workers' jobs.

Sprint had held out on layoffs even as its telecommunications competitors shed about 225,000 workers.

The company also said it will restructure elements of the company's various divisions, including Global Markets Group and the company's fixed wireless services in an effort to save an estimated $1 billion annually starting in 2002.

Sprint, the nation's third-largest long-distance provider, employs 84,000 worldwide - about 14,500 in the area.

DEARBORN, Mich. -

Ford posts new loss, sees bleak time ahead

Ford Motor Co. reported its second-straight quarterly loss - $692 million - on Wednesday, and its chief financial officer said he expected the world's No. 2 automaker to lose money in the fourth quarter, too.

"It will be difficult to earn a profit in the fourth quarter, but earnings should be better than the third quarter," Martin Inglis said.

Ford said its sales slumped 9 percent and it sold 15 percent fewer vehicles in North America. Still, the results were in line with Wall Street expectations.