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Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Briefcase

September 17, 2003

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Late trading probe nets criminal charges

New York officials Tuesday filed the first criminal counts in their investigation of mutual fund trading practices, charging a former Bank of America employee with grand larceny and securities fraud.

New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer announced the charges against Theodore Sihpol III, 36, who surrendered to authorities Tuesday in New York. At the same time, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced civil charges against the former Bank of America broker.

Spitzer said the charges were the first of several expected in the mutual fund probe he announced this month.

Authorities allege Sihpol was involved in late trading, or buying mutual fund shares at the 4 p.m. price after the market closes. Late trading is prohibited by New York law and SEC regulations.

Lawrence

Hiring outlook brighter

Lawrence employers were more optimistic about their hiring plans than they were three months ago and a year ago, according to Manpower's Employment Outlook Survey.

According to the survey which was released Tuesday, 23 percent of the companies planned to hire more employees during the October through December period. None intended to reduce their work force.

Those numbers were an improvement from the 13 percent of companies that planned to increase hiring and 10 percent that planned to decrease employment levels in the third quarter of the year. They were also better than a year ago when 17 percent of employers planned to hire and 7 percent intended to cut back.

The survey predicted hiring prospects were brightest in manufacturing, retail, finance and insurance.

Wall Street

Kroger profits fall

Kroger Co. on Tuesday said its second-quarter earnings dropped 28 percent from a year ago, hurt by competition from discount grocers and last month's blackout. It also lowered its earnings outlook for the year, and its shares fell 4.6 percent.

Kroger earned $190.4 million, or 25 cents per share, in the three months ended Aug. 16 compared with $264 million, or 33 cents per share, a year ago.

Kroger owns the Dillons chain of grocery stores. The company's shares closed down 85 cents to 17.80 in trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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