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Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Business briefcase for Wednesday

June 20, 2001

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General Electric Co. president Jeffrey Immelt, right, said in an interview published Tuesday there was "zero" chance his company's $41 billion merger with U.S. technology firm Honeywell International Inc. would go ahead.

"The indications we have from the European Commission lead us to think the offer won't be accepted," Immelt said, referring to the executive arm of the 15-nation European Union. The deal has so far failed to win clearance from European regulators.

"The percentage is zero," he said when asked to estimate the chances of a successful conclusion to the proposed acquisition, which would create one of the world's largest industrial companies.

Immelt is due to take over as chairman of General Electric when Jack Welch, left, who delayed his retirement to see through the Honeywell deal, steps down later this year.

Honeywell has an avionics plant in Lawrence.

AVIATION

Boeing official says

plant merger not set

Boeing Co. is not planning to merge its Renton and Everett commercial airplane plants right now but won't rule it out in the future, the head of its commercial airlines division said.

"I don't see that happening in the near term, but we're certainly studying all options and we will continue to do so to make our entire operation more efficient," Boeing Commercial President Alan Mulally, a Lawrence High School and Kansas University graduate, said Tuesday at a press conference at the Paris Air Show.

Boeing builds the single-aisle 757 and 737 airplanes in Renton, south of Seattle, and widebody 747s, 767s and 777s in Everett, 30 miles north of here. Two production bays at the gigantic Everett plant are currently empty.

MARKETS

Stocks slump again

despite Oracle outlook

Concerns about weak company profits ruled Wall Street again Tuesday, flattening the market's attempt to rally on bullish comments from tech bellwether Oracle.

Analysts weren't surprised, noting that the rest of the nation's business picture is still murky -- intensifying the caution of investors already burned by the market's fluctuations.

"For every Oracle, there are still companies out there that are indicating difficulties with near-term earnings," said Richard E. Cripps, chief market strategist for Legg Mason of Baltimore.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 48.71 at 10,596.67, despite an earlier gain of 94 points.

Tuesday's declines followed an early session rally on Oracle's news that its U.S. outlook might be improving.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION

Treasure secretary

completes sale of stock

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who ran aluminum giant Alcoa for 13 years, has completed the sale of millions of dollars worth of stock and options in the company as well as other holdings, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.

In response to criticism, O'Neill in March had pledged to dump his extensive holdings in Alcoa company and had until June 22 to do so.

O'Neill owned 2.37 million shares of Alcoa stock at the end of last year and 3.77 million stock options, which give the holder the right to buy stock at specified price within a state period, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At the time, those Alcoa holdings were valued at nearly $100 million.

Tuesday's announcement also means that O'Neill has completed the sale of all other financial holdings as well. They include stock of General Motors, Microsoft Corp., Dell Computer, Pfizer and International Paper.

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