Business & Finance

Arthur Andersen LLP is considering as many as 6,000 job cuts, or 20 percent of its work force, the Financial Times reported, as the troubled auditor wages an increasing struggle to survive fallout from the Enron scandal. The company's senior partners also were meeting in London to choose a replacement for chief executive Joseph Berardino, who resigned Tuesday. Meanwhile, Andersen Australia and Ernst & Young announced merger plans, the latest in a string of overseas affiliates to ally with a rival.

Although it is not certain yet whether their proposed merger won all the necessary shareholder approvals, Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer Corp. said they're proceeding with integration plans anyway. In a letter to employees obtained by the Financial Times, their chief executives said waiting for official results of last week's contentious investor vote "is simply not an option."

Morgan Stanley said it sold $7.3 billion in bonds Wednesday, believed to be a record by a securities firm. With the Federal Reserve expected to begin raising interest rates again as early as June, corporations have issued more than $68 billion in investment-grade bonds this month.

Mobile phone giant NTT DoCoMo declined to comment on a published report that it would post a $7.5 billion loss for the fiscal year ending Sunday, its first since going public in 1998. A senior executive of the Tokyo-based company said only that the value of its investments in foreign carriers, notably AT&T Wireless Services, had declined due to the high cost of new licenses and that DoCoMo would "do the necessary accounting."

The gates were to swing shut for the final time on the 108-year-old Sioux City Stock Yards, the world leader as recently as 1973 in auctioning cattle and hogs. The Iowa facility's demise is attributed to such factors as advances in transportation, dwindling family-owned farms, and urbanization that resulted in property taxes rising to $4,000 a month. A Home Depot outlet is to be built on the site.

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