Originally created 12/13/01

Business briefs



Low prices attract bargain hunters

NEW YORK - Buyers still worried about the economy but unable to resist bargain prices went back to Wall Street late in Wednesday's session, giving stocks some modest, hard-fought gains.

Investors overcame their misgivings about earnings warnings, which had sent prices falling for much of the day.

"Investors want to be buyers at lower prices, and I guess we just hit lower prices," said Scott Bleier, the chief investment strategist at Prime Charter Ltd. "There is a big desire to get money back to work on weakness, which is why the bouts of profit taking have been limited. Money wants to get into stocks."

Analysts were unfazed by the selling that persisted for most of the session, and said the market's post-attack comeback is more important than occasional downturns.

The Dow is 20.1 percent above its Sept. 21 low for the year, 8,235.81. The Nasdaq is up 41.3 percent from its low; the S&P is up 17.7 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers 8-to-7 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume totaled 1.40 billion shares, ahead of Tuesday's 1.35 billion shares.

FREE ADVICE

The General Services Administration will send free information on topics of interest to older Americans. The GSA has a collection of pamphlets filled with tips and advice on subjects ranging from hip replacements and eating better to making a will and estate planning.

The literature, published by private- and public-sector organizations such as MetLife and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, includes the basics about disability rights laws, arthritis and home safety.

To obtain brochures, click on www.pueblo.gsa.gov or call (888) 878-3256 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and ask for the seniors' financial and medical fitness kit.

MORE FEMALE OWNERS

The number of female-owned businesses with 100 or more employees and $1 million or more in revenue is growing faster than other businesses of the same size, according to a study conducted by the Center for Women's Business Research in Washington.

The number of female-owned businesses increased by 43.9 percent between 1997 and 2000, the center reports. That was 68 percent faster than all other businesses.

LIGHTING UP

Draping the house with strands of lights and other electricity-guzzling decorations is a must for many Americans during the holidays. To keep bills, fire risks and energy consumption as low as possible, leave the lights on for no more than six evening hours a day, warns the Alliance to Save Energy.

Always unplug holiday lights before you leave home and before you go to bed, said the alliance, a Washington-based nonprofit coalition that promotes the efficient use of energy.

Make sure there's a bulb in each socket and check your fuse or circuit breaker panel to determine how much output your home can handle without overloads.

For outdoor lights, wrap plugs and connector joints in plastic and electric tape and use ground fault circuit interrupters, which automatically cut off a current if there's a leak.