Business & Finance

General Electric's jet engine division will cut 1,000 jobs this year and up to 1,800 more in 2003, the company said, due to a slump in the airline industry. GE Aircraft Engines, based in Cincinnati, supplies more than half the commercial plane engines sold worldwide.

Brokerage giant Merrill Lynch will stop trading all but the most widely held stocks on the technology-dominated Nasdaq exchange, a company statement said Tuesday. It didn't identify which stocks would be kept but said the number would drop from 10,000 to 2,400.

A firestorm of protest was expected to greet the announcement of a restructuring plan by the troubled auto-making division of Italian industrial giant Fiat. Speculation on the number of job cuts the plan will involve has ranged as high as 8,000, with the possible closure of two assembly plants. UIL, one of the nation's three major labor unions, already has said, "As far as we are concerned, there is no need for layoffs." And the government's minister of industry took the step of recommending that Fiat's board "closely evaluate the impact" that massive layoffs would have on the Italian economy and social fabric. Fiat shares are trading at a 17-year low, and the auto division reported an $807.5 million loss for the year's first half. In addition to Fiats, the company makes high-end Alfa Romeo and Lancia sports cars.

Tyco International Ltd. filed an arbitration demand over a controversial $43 million severance package for ex-chief financial officer Mark Swartz. The conglomerate alleged before the Securities and Exchange Commission that Swartz "breached his fiduciary duties" and "misappropriated company funds and other assets." Last month, Tyco sued former chairman Dennis Kozlowski for $730 million. He, Swartz, and another former executive have been indicted for fraud.

Troubled Electronic Data Systems (EDS) is seeking a deep cut in the capital investment involved in an $8 billion outsourcing deal with household products giant Procter & Gamble, the Financial Times reported. As part of the deal, EDS, the world's No. 2 systems-management firm, was to acquire Procter & Gamble's Global Business Services unit for about $800 million. But since issuing a surprise earnings warning last month, EDS has sought to slash the price to $100 million, the newspaper said.

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