Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2001

Business briefcase for Saturday

September 22, 2001


Persons interested in donating goods can drop off clean, gently used clothing, housewares, furniture and other goods at the door. Donations are tax-deductible.

Goodwill's retail operations support programs, job training and other services for people with disabilities and/or disadvantages.

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For retail information, call 331-3908. For information about the vocational center, call Ron Thomas at 840-9675, or visit


Slow sales cause GM

to temporarily close plant

General Motors Corp. will close its Fairfax plant for two weeks next month because of slow sales, company and union officials said.

The plant, which will be closed the weeks of Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, produces the Pontiac Grand Prix and the Oldsmobile Intrigue, said Linda Heater, a GM spokeswoman at the Kansas City, Kan. factory.

About 3,300 workers are employed at the plant, including about 3,000 hourly workers on two shifts.

Through unemployment benefits and a supplement fund negotiated by the company and the union, production workers will receive 90 to 95 percent of their take-home pay during the shut down, said Jim Russell, president of United Auto Workers Local 31.


Economists forecast recession

in wake of terrorist attacks

An overwhelming majority of economists believe economic damage from the terrorist attacks has virtually guaranteed a recession this year, according to surveys released by two closely watched forecasting groups.

In surveys by Blue Chip Economic Indicators and the National Association for Business Economics, the new pessimism was pegged to a belief that consumers -- who account for two-thirds of economic activity -- would cut back sharply on their spending in the wake of the terrorist attacks and rising job layoff announcements.


GE remains optimistic

General Electric Co. pared earnings forecast, but still expects double-digit growth and remains well-positioned even after heavy insurance losses from last week's terrorist attacks, CEO Jeffrey Immelt said Friday.

"The GE model works," Immelt said Friday in his first meeting with investors since taking the helm. "We're looking at this unmistakable tragedy as a time of strength for the company."

Immelt, who took over as chairman and CEO from Jack Welch on Sept. 7, told investors at a meeting in New York that the company's diversified businesses will help GE manage losses from its aircraft engine division and at the NBC broadcasting network, which cut advertising for several days after the attacks.


Morgan Stanley announces

drop in third quarter profits

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. reported a 43 percent plunge in third quarter earnings Friday as a prolonged stock slump cut trading commissions and investment banking fees, extended the leading Wall Street firm's slide to four straight quarters.

The firm, which was the largest single tenant in the World Trade Center, said its short-term business outlook turned "decisively negative" after the terrorist attacks last week as financial markets absorb the impact.

While nearly all of the firm's 3,700 employees at the twin towers escaped without harm, revenues from trading and investment banking activity are likely to slow further following the attacks, chief financial officer Stephen Crawford told analysts on a conference call.


Americans having trouble

paying credit cards

Late credit card payments shot up in the second quarter, suggesting that more Americans were having trouble paying bills as the economy weakened and layoffs mounted.

The seasonally adjusted percentage of credit card accounts 30 or more days past due rose to 3.93 percent in the April-June quarter, up from 2.99 percent in the first three months of the year, according to a quarterly survey released Friday by the American Bankers Assn.


Microsoft postpones release

of Xbox game console system

Microsoft Corp. will delay by one week the U.S. release of its Xbox game console system and is refusing to say how many units will be available on the later launch date.

The software giant's planned new computer game system -- its first real foray into the hardware business -- will now be available Nov. 15, the company said Friday.

John O'Rourke, director of Xbox sales and marketing, refused to give a specific reason for the delay. However, he said the decision had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks and the impact on the nation's economy.

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