Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Business digest

U.S. dollar sinks to low against yen

Enquirer wire services

The U.S. dollar touched a 33-month low against the yen Monday, sparking Tokyo's biggest stock sell-off in two years and fueling investor worries that currency swings might put the brakes on Japan's export-driven economy.

The downturn, which saw the stock market's main index sink more than 4 percent, came as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi kept Heizo Takenaka, a former university professor, as head of Japan's economy and banking ministries in a Cabinet reshuffle that underlined the administration's commitment to tough economic changes.

The dollar tumbled to 111.37 yen in Monday morning trading in Tokyo - its lowest against the Japanese currency since December 2000. It recovered by late afternoon to 112.31 yen in trading in Tokyo, down 2.93 yen from 115.24 yen here late Friday.

Indian Motorcycle factory shuts down

Indian Motorcycle Corp. halted a four-year effort to revive the oldest U.S. motorcycle brand, suspending production of its heavyweight cruisers after losing its biggest investor.

The company shut the Gilroy, Calif., factory, where it turned out $25,000 Chief, Scout and Spirit motorcycles with lighted Indian-head logos on the front fenders, and fired its 380 workers.

Indian Motorcycle in 1999 began the effort to revive a brand that dates to 1901, two years before Harley-Davidson Inc.

Interest rates rise in Treasury bill auction

Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities rose in Monday's auction.

The Treasury Department sold $15 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.935 percent, up from 0.930 percent last week. An additional $15 billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 1.010 percent, up from 0.995 percent.

Both the three-month and six-month rates were the highest since Sept. 2, when the bills sold for 0.970 percent and 1.040 percent, respectively.

The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors - 0.953 percent for three-month bills with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,976.10 and 1.033 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,948.90.

In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year constant maturity Treasury bills, edged down to 1.21 percent last week from 1.22 percent the previous week.

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Business digest