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Archive for Saturday, September 8, 2001

Business briefcase for Saturday

September 8, 2001

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gets FTC approval

The only remaining barriers to Chevron Corp.'s $39 billion acquisition of fellow oil titan Texaco Inc. are a nod from shareholders -- and a hefty sale of assets that federal regulators made a condition of their approval Friday.

The Federal Trade Commission voted 4-0 to approve the merger, which would create the second-largest oil company in the nation and the world's fourth-largest. Chairman Timothy J. Muris recused himself from the vote.

San Francisco-based Chevron agreed to buy Texaco in October 2000 in a stock deal now valued at $39.3 billion, plus the assumption of about $6 billion in debt. Chevron will be renamed ChevronTexaco Corp. and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol CVX.

EARNINGS

AMR Corp. expects

bigger quarter loss

The parent company of American Airlines said Friday it expects a considerably larger loss in the third quarter due to the weak economy and higher costs for labor and fuel.

Wall Street analysts were expecting AMR Corp. to lose 39 cents per share in the third quarter. But AMR said Friday the loss would be much wider than even its operating loss of $105 million, or 68 cents per share, in the second quarter.

Fort Worth-based AMR added that it also expects "a significant fourth-quarter loss." Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had expected a loss of 60 cents in the final three months of the year.

American, the world's largest carrier, also announced it would further cut capacity in its fleet to counter weakening demand for air travel.

WORLD ECONOMY

Japanese GDP

continues decline

Japan's economy shrank by 0.8 percent in the second quarter, the government said Friday, increasing fears that promised reforms won't come quickly enough to save the world's second largest economy from recession.

The drop in gross domestic product -- the value of all goods and services produced in the nation -- was caused by declining exports, company investments and public spending, the government said.

Although slightly better than the 1 percent contraction that analysts had expected, Friday's figures show the economy shrank 3.2 percent on an annual basis. Japan is not technically in a recession because its economy managed 0.1 percent growth in the first quarter.

Japan is trying to recover from a slowdown that has continued for more than 10 years.

ELECTRONICS

Circuit City sales

down, Best Buy up

Shares of Circuit City Stores Inc. tumbled more than 21 percent Friday after the retailer said its electronics store sales sank in the second quarter.

The report came a day after rival electronics retailer Best Buy Co. said its sales were stronger than anticipated in the same period.

Circuit City Stores, which owns Circuit City and CarMax stores, said its overall sales fell 9 percent to $2.89 billion for the quarter ending Aug. 31 from $3.18 billion last year.

But sales for its Circuit City electronics store chain alone dropped 19 percent to $2.04 billion from $2.51 billion.

Sales at Circuit City stores open at least a year were down 21 percent overall but only 9 percent if major appliance sales are excluded from the comparison.

PATENT INFRINGEMENT

Jury reduces claim

against Johnson & Johnson

A federal jury on Friday rejected most claims by Boston Scientific in its patent-infringement lawsuit against rival Johnson & Johnson, giving Boston Scientific just a fraction of the $226 million in damages it sought.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., awarded Boston Scientific $8.3 million after agreeing that New Brunswick-based J&J, the world's largest maker of health care products, infringed on one of Boston Scientific's patents for a stent.

Stents are tiny metal tubes used to prop clogged arteries open after the blockage has been cleared by inflating a balloon inside the artery, a process called angioplasty.

Shares of Boston Scientific tumbled 5.7 percent on the news; J&J shares fell 2 percent.

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