The Dow Jones Industrial Average was poised for its best October on record as the Monitor went to press. While Thursday's closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange had not yet sounded, stock prices across the board were up 11 percent for the month, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.com reported. The gain followed six consecutive months of losses, with the Dow down 16 percent overall for the year. Some analysts cautioned that October's rally may be temporary, however.
Troubled Dynegy Inc. posted a $1.8 billion third-quarter loss, which the Houston energy company blamed largely on special charges related to an industrywide downturn. But the report increased pressure on Dynegy's biggest shareholder, ChevronTexaco Corp., to dump its 27-percent stake, analysts said, and fueled speculation of a possible bankruptcy.
The deadline on a $6.6 billion offer made by cellphone giant Vodafone for control of French rival Cegetel expired, a company spokeswoman said. Vodafone sought to buy a 44 percent stake last month from troubled media conglomerate Vivendi Universal. "But we've seen that Vivendi has rejected that offer ... so that's it," the spokeswoman said. Vodafone still could buy the 26 percent and 15 percent stakes in Cegetel currently owned by Britain's BT Group and SBC Communications of the US, respectively. But Vivendi has the right of first refusal on both.
In a new round of corporate layoffs:
Electronic Data Systems announced a cost-cutting plan involving 5,500 jobs and the shifting of some operations to Brazil, Ireland, the Czech Republic, and India. The Plano, Texas, computer services giant reported a 59 percent drop in third-quarter profits.
Corning Inc., the world leader in making fiber-optic cable for the telecommunications industry, said it will cut 2,200 more jobs and close plants in Germany and Australia. Last year, Corning announced about 12,000 layoffs.
The Shared Services division of aerospace giant Boeing will lay off 1,200 to 1,500 workers, a spokeswoman said. The unit is responsible for in-house functions such as computing and building maintenance.