News In Brief

GUYS, IS SHE REALLY WORTH IT?

You may need to take out a small loan to buy Valentine's roses for that special someone today - if you live in New York, that is. Florists there are charging 34 percent more than usual for a dozen long stems, which - not surprisingly - has the city seeing red. New Yorkers in general are being asked to pay an average of $66 a dozen. But in Manhattan, it's ... $80.

THAT'S A CAMRY, NOT A HONDA

Just wait until Drew Koon is old enough to drive. The Lakeland, Fla., youngster is - oh - 13 years away, but already he's a huge car buff who can name the make and model of almost any vehicle on the market. It all began with dancing to the music in car commercials. That led to "yee yaa ma'bu," which his parents figured out was his mother's Chevy Malibu. Now, he checks out the automobile classifieds every day. "Twice," says his father, "he's found mistakes in the models."

Ranking the companies that Americans most look up to

General Electric is the most admired company in the US for the third straight year, according to Fortune magazine's annual "top 10" survey of 10,000 business people. While the top finishers divided evenly into technological and more traditional fields, each distinguished itself by pioneering online in some manner. GE, for instance, earned high marks for embracing e-commerce. Another plus for the group: high returns to shareholders on their investments. From 1994-99, these averaged 63.5 percent for the top 10, compared to 28.3 percent for Standard & Poor's 500. Respondents chose from among the 1,000 largest US companies and 25 largest US subsidiaries of foreign-owned businesses. The most admired:

* General Electric

*Microsoft

*Dell Computer

*Cisco Systems

*Wal-Mart Stores

*Southwest Airlines

*Berkshire Hathaway

*Intel

*Home Depot

*Lucent Technologies

Compiled by Robert Kilborn,

Judy Nichols and Stephanie Cook

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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