Business & Finance
The full effect of Saturday night's terrorist bomb attack on the economies of Indonesia and South Asia generally cannot be measured yet, analysts said. But foreign investors in Indonesia were selling their holdings Monday at a rate that caused the main index on the already wobbly Jakarta Stock Exchange to plunge 10.4 percent. Indonesia's currency, the rupiah, also nosedived from last week's close of 9,005 against the US dollar to 9,350. On Bali, the resort island where the blast took place, the tourism board reported that thousands of foreign visitors already had fled, and the US and other governments were warning their nationals to leave. Bali accounts for more than one-fifth of all foreign visitors to Indonesia. Elsewhere, the region's largest stock exchanges, Tokyo and Hong Kong, were closed for holidays. But markets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; and Manila all fell Monday, with Kuala Lumpur down 7.8 percent leading the way.
Boeing Co. lost the year's largest order for commercial aircraft when British budget carrier EasyJet announced it had chosen rival Airbus as the supplier for up to 240 new planes. Terms of the deal were not divulged, although the Financial Times reported that at "list prices" it would be worth about $6 billion. Boeing, in dominating the low-cost aircraft market thus far, has built all of EasyJet's current fleet. In a related report, the European edition of The Wall Street Journal quoted senior Boeing executives as saying the company "could" scale back production through 2004, a year longer than expected.
Wella, one of the world's leading makers of hair-care products, was refusing to comment officially on published reports that it's the object of a $5.2 billion hostile takeover effort by the German household products group Henkel KGaA. But The Wall Street Journal's European edition, citing unnamed sources, said Wella regarded the offer as too low. Wella also is a supplier of products and appliances to the beauty-salon industry and markets such upscale brands of fragrances as Alfred Dunhill and Gucci.