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Archive for Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Briefcase

November 26, 2002

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Wall Street: Westar shares increase

Shares of Westar Energy Inc. rose sharply Monday after the troubled utility replaced its chief executive, who resigned last week under a legal cloud.

Shares of Topeka-based Westar jumped about 13 percent to $11.05 in heavy trading, making it a top percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange.

Over the weekend, Westar, the state's largest electric utility, named James Haines Jr. chief executive, president and board member, effective Dec. 9. Haines, 56, will replace David Wittig, whose resignation the company announced late Friday.

"We view this as very positive news," said Deutsche Bank Securities analyst James Dobson in a report issued Monday.

Dobson called Haines a "proven turnaround specialist," who should "drive a significant improvement in shareholder value over the long term."

Debt: Bankruptcy filings soar

Bankruptcy filings by individuals and businesses jumped 12 percent in the three months ending in September to a record 401,306, according to data released Monday.

New bankruptcy filings in the 12 months ended Sept. 30 totaled 1,547,669, up 7.7 percent from the year-earlier period and exceeding the record of 1,492,129 in 2001, a year in which the economy slid into recession, data compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts show.

The American Bankruptcy Institute, a group of bankruptcy judges, lawyers and experts, said the filings surged 30 percent from the third quarter two years earlier.

They reflected "the hangover of debt built up during the 1990s," said Samuel Gerdano, the institute's executive director.

Analysts: Raytheon settles stock case with SEC

Defense contractor Raytheon Co. has agreed to a settlement with federal regulators in one of the first cases involving alleged violations of a rule barring companies from revealing information to stock analysts before the general public.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which announced the settlement Monday, also said it had investigated similar allegations against Motorola Inc. but closed the case without taking enforcement action because a company official had gotten legal advice before starting one-on-one conversations with analysts.

Under the settlement, Raytheon and its chief financial officer, Franklyn Caine, neither admitted to nor denied wrongdoing.

Tourism: Colorado ski resort posts record opening

A year after warm weather and the terrorist attacks reduced business at ski resorts, Vail enjoyed its biggest opening day in its 40-year history. Other ski resorts around the country are also off to a good start.

Vail, Colo., the nation's most popular ski resort, drew some 11,000 people when it opened for the season Nov. 16, shattering the old record of 4,000, set in 1996, the resort said.

About 8 feet of snow had fallen in the previous three weeks, creating a base of 36 inches at the middle of the mountain on opening day.

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