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Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2005

Briefcase

July 16, 2005

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HP layoffs expected

Hewlett-Packard Co. is widely expected to cut thousands of jobs next week as part of a long-awaited restructuring that will attempt to bring the computer maker's costs in line with business and its rivals' numbers, according to industry analysts.

Observers speculate layoffs could range between 5,000 and 25,000 positions. The huge company, whose offerings range from digital cameras and printers to computers and corporate consulting, has 150,000 workers worldwide.

Since being named HP's chief executive in late March - replacing the ousted Carly Fiorina - former NCR Corp. executive Mark Hurd has made no secret of his intent to reduce expenses at Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP.

Alexa Hanes, an HP spokeswoman, declined to comment Friday on "rumors and speculation."

In a research report , Moors & Cabot analyst Cindy Shaw said that the expected management reorganization could include as many as 25,000 job cuts.

Economy

Industrial production roars ahead in June

Industrial production, helped by a jump in utility output, surged in June at the fastest pace in 16 months, providing the strongest evidence yet that U.S. manufacturing is rebounding.

Meanwhile, wholesale prices were flat last month, matching the benign performance turned in by consumer prices during June.

Taken together, the two reports Friday helped to ease fears that manufacturing, hardest hit in the 2001 recession, was in danger of faltering again or that inflation, battered by high energy prices, was threatening to get out of hand.

"This is about as close as you can get to a Mary Poppins economy - practically perfect in every way," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York.

Flu shots

Chiron cuts supply of European vaccine

Chiron Corp., which last flu season halted its output of flu vaccine for the U.S. market because of quality-control problems, said Friday it would cut its supply of vaccine in Europe after it discovered tainted batches at its plant in Germany.

The Marburg, Germany plant makes Begrivac, a flu vaccine Chiron sells in Germany and England. The company reduced its expected output of Begrivac for the upcoming flu season to 4 million doses from 12 million. Chiron does not expect to sell any Begrivac in the third quarter and said it was working with German regulators to discover the extent of the contamination.

The company said that it still expects earnings to fall within the range of its most recent guidance for 2005. Chiron forecast earnings per share of 86 cents to $1.11 per share, an outlook the company lowered in June from $1.06 to $1.16 per share.

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