Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Chinese tariff cutoff raises U.S. steel stocks


Business digest

Enquirer news services

NEW YORK - Shares of U.S. steel companies climbed again Monday, continuing an advance that began Friday on news about China's decision to roll back tariffs on steel imports.

Gainers included shares of Allegheny Technologies Inc., which is based in Pittsburgh. The stock finished at $13.90, up 83 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shares of Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp. closed at $36.83, up $1.11, on the NYSE.

Nucor Corp. shares finished at $57.65, up $1.41.

Generic birth control pill now on market

Barr Laboratories Inc., the third-biggest U.S. maker of birth-control pills, has started selling a generic copy of Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral contraceptive.

Ortho Tri-Cyclen, with annual sales of $716 million, is the biggest brand in the $2.6 billion U.S. market for oral contraceptives. Barr is marketing its product under the name Tri-Sprintec.

A July settlement between Barr and Johnson & Johnson allowed Barr to begin selling the generic pill. Watson Pharmaceuticals, the second-biggest U.S. maker of oral contraceptives, is allowed to begin selling its generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen as soon as Barr does.

Hasbro's Wizards unit will close 64 stores

RENTON, Wash. - Wizards of the Coast Inc., the manufacturer of trading card games and role-playing games, will close its chain of 64 retail stores in 15 states.

Wizards, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc., announced Sunday that the closure of its Wizards of the Coast and The Game Keeper stores will allow it to focus on its core business of game design.

Wizards' games include "Magic: The Gathering" and "Dungeons & Dragons."

Rates for T-bills creep up this week

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

The Treasury Department sold $16 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.885 percent, up from 0.870 percent last week. An additional $15 billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 0.995 percent, up from 0.970 percent.

In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year constant maturity Treasury rose to 1.28 percent last week from 1.27 percent the previous week.

Barbie-in-a-blender survives lawsuit

Mattel Inc. can't sue a Utah artist whose photographs portray naked Barbie dolls attacked by household appliances. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that Thomas Forsythe's "Food Chain Barbie" series was fair use and consumers wouldn't be confused that Mattel had sponsored his art. The court upheld a judge's ruling that dismissed the suit.

Mattel often goes to court to protect the doll's trademark, including suing an artist who sold Barbie attired in sadomasochistic attire and MCA Records over the band Aqua's 1997 hit song "Barbie Girl."

Forsythe's photos included "Malted Barbie," which featured a Barbie placed on a vintage Hamilton Beach malt machine, and "Fondue a la Barbie," which depicted Barbie heads in a fondue pot.

Forsythe earned less than $3,700 from his Barbie work, with half the sales coming from Mattel investigators.

New Shanghai shipyard will be world's largest

SHANGHAI, China - A Chinese shipbuilding company has broken ground on what it says will be the world's biggest shipyard, a high-tech facility capable of producing cruise ships and natural gas tankers, official newspapers reported Monday.

The yard, being built on an island at the mouth of the Yangtze river, will feature seven construction docks along a five-mile stretch of coastline. It is to be completed in 2015.

HealthSouth's Scrushy gets OK for trip

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Indicted former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy has a judge's permission to travel on a private plane this morning to Palm Beach, Fla., to check on property he owns there.

The conditions of Scrushy's $10 million bond were amended Monday so he can travel with his wife and children to Palm Beach.

Scrushy, 51, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he directed an accounting scam that overstated HealthSouth earnings by $2.7 billion since 1996.




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