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Archive for Saturday, October 7, 2000

Business Briefcase

October 7, 2000

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technology

Priceline continues slide after suit, downgrade

Shares of name-your-own-price Internet marketer Priceline.com Inc. continued to plunge Friday as a lawsuit and yet another analyst downgrade followed close on the heels of the company's announcement Thursday that it was shutting its gasoline and groceries operations.

Shares of the Norwalk, Conn.-based firm, which allows customers to bid online for items ranging from mortgages to airline tickets, were down 7.5 percent from Thursday's closing price of $5.375 after Credit Suisse First Boston downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy" and a Connecticut lawyer filed suit on behalf of investors in the firm.

employment

Court limits man's right to challenge layoff

The California Supreme Court sided with employers, ruling that they can fire nonunion workers even if company policy is to terminate only for disciplinary reasons.

The 6-1 decision issued Thursday reversed a closely watched appeals court ruling that said a San Francisco man could sue Bechtel National Inc. for laying him off to save money, even though he had no formal contract.

Employer groups had argued that if the court backed John Guz, it would be nearly impossible to lay off workers to cut costs.

Court

Judge OKs theater plan

A judge has approved several motions in the bankruptcy reorganization plan for Dickinson Theatres Inc.

The company's attorney said the Chapter 11 petition filed Monday was related to a cash-flow problem, not a cash problem. Dickinson, an 80-year-old company based in the Kansas City suburb of Mission, Kan., had assets of $58 million and liabilities of $42 million on July 31.

Its largest secured creditor is Mission Bank, which is owed $10.6 million.

The judge also approved the bank's offer to provide $1.2 million to enable the company to keep operating while reorganizing. That financing will be available immediately.

online

E-brokers' earnings dip

The third quarter has been a tough one for online brokerage firms as the market stagnated and trading volumes fell. Analysts say this will be evident when online brokers report their financial results in the coming weeks, and that revenues and profits are expected to be well below second quarter levels amid slower account growth as firms cut back on expenses such as marketing.

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