News In Brief

China's legislature toughened laws against insider trading, market manipulation, and other crimes in stock and futures exchanges. The action is part of a broader effort to clean up China's markets, better protect average investors, and attract more domestic investment in shares of state-run companies that are badly in need of funds to modernize and grow.

Investors pushed stocks to record levels in US, as well as some European and Asian markets late last week. In New York, the Nasdaq composite index briefly crossed 4000 for the first time, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped to its first record close since August. Records also were toppled by market indicators in London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Hong Kong's major index closed at its first record high since Aug. 7, 1997, before the Asian financial crisis.

Rhode Island-based Hasbro Inc., the world's No. 2 toymaker, announced plans to slash 19 percent of its work force and close plants in Mexico and England. The company wants to shift toward high-tech toys made in Asia.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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