Investors plowed an estimated $184 billion into stock mutual funds in 1999, with more than half the total going into three fund companies--Fidelity Investments, Vanguard Group and Janus. Investors piled into Vanguard's index funds-- low-cost offerings that track benchmark indexes--and the aggressive growth funds offered by Fidelity and Janus.
Bank One, the fourth-largest U.S. bank, said it expects profit to fall as much as 19 percent in 2000 as it tries to fix its slumping credit-card business. Bank executives told investors at a meeting in New York they would take a charge of $725 million against fourth-quarter earnings in 1999 in part to cover one-time losses at the credit-card unit and job cuts.
The Census Bureau said the nation's gas and electric utilities reported revenue of $412 billion in 1997, up from $292 billion five years before. The Commerce Department's 1997 economic census also reported that the industry employed 703,000 workers.
General Motors said it won't bid for South Korea's Daewoo Motor if Daewoo creditors won't write off enough debt or refuse to give GM managerial control. In December, GM offered to buy Daewoo, which has debts totaling $6.2 billion. Rather than accept this offer, Daewoo's creditors opted for an auction that could now include Ford and Hyundai. GM, which sold a 50 percent stake in Daewoo, is best suited to generate the cost savings and updated products Daewoo needs to survive, said Rudy Schlais, president of GM's Asian operations. The move would likely fail if GM is saddled with too much debt or lacks the clout to integrate Daewoo into its global manufacturing and sales network, he said.
McKesson HBOC, which distributes drugs and health and beauty aids, agreed to sell its bottled water unit, which sells water under the brand names of Sparkletts, Alhambra and Crystal, to French foodmaker Group Danone for $1.1 billion in cash.
Toys R Us hired John Eyler, the top executive at rival FAO Schwarz, as president and chief executive. He starts Monday, replacing interim CEO Michael Goldstein. The struggling toy retailer has seen its shares lose more than a third of their value in the past six months.
The manufacturer of Easy-Off oven cleaner voluntarily recalled 50,000 cans of the product after receiving reports that a faulty spray valve has caused skin and eye burns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the manufacturer, Reckitt & Colman of Wayne, N.J., had received 18 reports of cans spewing oven cleaner and 12 reports of chemical burns to consumers' skin and eyes. Consumers can identify the yellow 16-ounce aerosol can by the lot number, B9305-NJ2, printed at the can's bottom. The safety commission advised consumers who bought the recalled product to wrap the can in several layers of newspaper and throw it away.
L.L. Bean recalled two lines of children's overalls after determining that children could choke on the overalls' snaps. The recall covers 7,700 pairs of L.L. Bean's traditional blue-denim overall, sold in sizes 6 months through 4T, and the company's cotton twill woodland overalls, lined with red flannel and sold in sizes 6 months through 3T. Customers can identify the traditional style by a full snap crotch, pockets and a sewn-in label reading "0DB48." The woodland overalls have a full snap crotch, a front zipper, pockets and a sewn-in label reading "0HS39." Though no injuries have been reported, the company has received six complaints.
Ariba, a maker of software to process online purchases, said its fiscal first-quarter loss widened, though less than expected, as revenue tripled with the addition of new customers. The loss excluding amortization of stock-based compensation widened to $5.6 million, from $1.2 million a year earlier.