Belluzzo named Microsoft president, COO
Rick Belluzzo, a longtime executive in the computer and software industries, was named president and chief operating officer of Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday.
Belluzzo, who currently heads Microsoft's consumer division, will replace COO Bob Herbold, who will continue to work for the software giant part-time.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that he wanted to give Belluzzo a broader sense of responsibility, and that the move should not be interpreted as a shift in focus toward the consumer side of the business.
Goodyear reports loss, plans to cut 7,200 jobs
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., suffering from higher costs and lower tire demand from U.S. automakers, plans to eliminate 7,200 jobs, or 6.8 percent of its worldwide work force, this year.
The plans were disclosed Wednesday as Goodyear said it lost $102 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
Samir Gibara, chairman and chief executive officer of the tire maker, said the cuts would be on top of the elimination of 3,500 jobs last year, boosting the total two-year reduction to 10,700 positions, or about 10 percent of Goodyear's work force of 105,000.
Goodyear expects savings this year of $150 million from the cuts, and annual savings of about $250 million a year beginning in 2002, Gibara said.
Goodyear has a plant in Topeka.
Firms whittle away at excess inventories
Businesses, coping with dampened demand, worked off some of their excess inventories in December, a government report indicated Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said inventories of goods on shelves and backlots rose by a tiny 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted $1.22 trillion. That matched the increase in sales, which rose to $896.8 billion.
The 0.1 percent rise in inventories was the smallest since the same-sized increase registered in January 1999.
To bring inventories more in line with demand, companies are laying off workers, reducing shifts to curb production and deeply discounting merchandise.
ConAgra shares plunge
Shares of ConAgra Foods Inc. plunged nearly 20 percent in trading Wednesday after the nation's largest food service manufacturer said its earnings during the next two quarters will fall well short of Wall Street's expectations.
Citing high energy costs and a slowing economy as hurting its near-term business, the Omaha, Neb.-based company said late Tuesday that it expected third-quarter earnings of between 18 cents and 20 cents.
Investors sent shares down $4.85, or more 19.5 percent, to close at $20.01 in heavy trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Nasdaq rises; Dow falls
Investors regaining some of their confidence in high-tech stocks bid the sector higher Wednesday while lessening their reliance on safer blue chips. The result was a mixed session on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 107.91 at 10,795.41, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 63.68 to 2,491.40.