Here is a look at more of Monday's top business stories:
Allegheny Energy issues earnings warning, cuts staff
HAGERSTOWN, Md., July 8 (UPI) -- Allegheny Energy Inc., a utility company, warned that its profits would fall well short of forecasts because of a weak electricity market, prompting it to announce plans to cut spending and 10 percent of its workforce.
The company blamed the projected shortfall on sharply lower power prices, mild weather and the overall slowdown in energy trading that has followed the collapse of Enron Corp. and revelations of fake deals in the industry.
Allegheny, which runs utilities in Maryland, Ohio and Virginia, said this year's earnings should run between $2.50 and $2.70 a share, down sharply from its previous guidance of $3.60 to $3.70 a share.
Alan Noia, Allegheny Energy chairman, president and chief executive, said the company would cut about 600 jobs from its workforce of 6,000 and cancel two power projects, which were to cost about $700 million over the next several years.
The company, which said it would record charges in the second and third quarters to account for the restructuring, also plans to cut operating expenses by $45 million for the remainder of this year.
"These are challenging times for our company, but we are taking immediate action to bolster our financial performance," said Noia.
"Dramatically lower wholesale energy prices, mild weather and substantially decreased activity in the energy marketing and trading environment are having an effect on our ability to meet prior expectations. In addition, we experienced some unexpected equipment outages, which affected our performance in April and May, with costs for replacement power totaling approximately $30 million," Noia said.
"The Allegheny Energy management team and I recognize that these challenging times call for prudent and decisive actions that will allow us to continue to provide shareholder value, while offering customer service that is unmatched in our industry," he added.
Earnings decline 2 percent at Safeway
PLEASANTON, Calif., July 8 (UPI) -- Safeway Inc. said its second quarter net income excluding charges fell 2 percent as profit growth was hindered by an increase in competitive activity.
The grocery company said its net income excluding items in the quarter ended June 15 fell to $350.4 million, or 72 cents a diluted share, from $358 million, or 69 cents a share, during the same period last year.
Safeway recorded an after-tax charge of $36.7 million in the latest quarter consisting of severance costs related to the restructuring of a 29-store labor contract, severance costs related to the centralization of marketing functions, and charges associated with 10 planned store closures.
In addition, Safeway incurred transition costs related to the centralization effort of $4.4 million after tax.
Last month, Safeway said its second quarter earnings would fall short of the analysts' consensus estimate, which was 77 cents a share at that time.
The grocer cited economic softness and disruptions in its buying operations as reasons. Safeway had forecast a second quarter net income of 71 cents to 73 cents a share.
Total sales rose 1.2 percent to $8.1 billion from $8.0 billion a year ago.
The company said its sales were impacted by continued softness in the economy, an increase in competitive activity, an overly aggressive shrink effort and disruptions associated with the centralization of buying and merchandising.
Sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, declined 0.4 percent.
Safeway operates 1,792 stores in the United States and Canada.
New home orders jump at Beazer Homes
ATLANTA, July 8 (UPI) -- Home builder Beazer Homes USA Inc. said that new home orders rose 44.6 percent in June, including orders from Crossmann Communities Inc., acquired by Beazer in April.
Beazer said that orders rose to 1,283, including 384 through Crossmann, from 887 in June of last year.
New orders in the central United States were up 27.6 percent from a year ago, but orders fell 4.4 percent in the Mid-Atlantic region, the company said.
Action Performance expects higher revenues
PHOENIX, July 8 (UPI) -- Model race-car maker Action Performance Cos. Inc. said revenues in its third quarter will meet or exceed its previous estimates of $106 million to $107 million.
Action Performance also said the California Highway Patrol has made arrests in connection with the theft of $900,000 of collectible die cast.
The company said casualty/theft insurance reimbursements will cover costs from production and replacing the stolen merchandise.
Revenues from the merchandise, which were expected to be recorded in the fiscal third quarter ended June 30, are now expected to be recorded in the fourth quarter.
David Martin, chief financial officer, said, "Based upon preliminary financial information, we believe that our revenues for the third quarter ending June 30, 2002, will equal or exceed our earlier revenue guidance of $106 million to $107 million."
Petco expects to meet earnings expectations
SAN DIEGO, July 8 (UPI) -- Petco Animal Supplies Inc. said earnings would meet Wall Street expectations for the quarter and full year due to higher margins and better sales at stores open at least a year.
The company said same store sales would rise more than 7 percent for the second quarter and increase about 8 percent for the year.
The company said second quarter earnings would be 15 cents a share, compared with pro-forma earnings of 8 cents a year earlier. For the year, it said pro-forma earnings would be 85 cents per share.
Analysts on Wall Street expect the compnay to post a net income of 15 cents a share the quarter and 85 cents a share for the year, according to Thomson Financial/ First Call.
Petco operates 571 stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia.