Originally created 09/10/04

Business briefs

Cracker Barrel will settle racial suit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant chain has agreed to pay $8.7 million to settle lawsuits that accused it of discriminating against black customers, the company and a plaintiffs' lawyer said Thursday.

At least 42 plaintiffs, including the NAACP, accused the Lebanon, Tenn., company of discrimination in federal lawsuits filed in Georgia.

In the suits, black customers said they were subjected to racial slurs, denied service, segregated in smoking sections or served food taken from the trash.

Oil prices rise on hurricane worries

NEW YORK - Oil prices surged Thursday on fears of hurricane damage and lower-than-expected crude oil and gasoline inventory data released by the government.

"The market is obviously concerned about the storm," said Tom Kloza, the director of Oil Price Information Service, adding that the crude stock statistics helped trigger the rally.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures rose $1.84 to settle at $44.61 a barrel.

Nokia sales boost quarterly forecast

HELSINKI, Finland - Nokia Corp. raised its earnings and revenue forecasts for the current quarter because of growing mobile phone sales, the company's first glimmer of good news in months.

But analysts cautioned that it was premature to say Nokia was in position to shore up its market share.

Nokia said Thursday that it expects earnings per share would be between 11 euro cents and 13 euro cents (13-16 U.S. cents) for the three months ending Sept. 30, compared with a previous estimate of 8 euro cents to 10 euro cents (10-12 U.S. cents).

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