Executive business Brief

Oct. 31, 2002 at 10:59 AM
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Here are some of Thursday's top business stories:

Deutsche Bank goes into the red in the third quarter

FRANKFURT, Germany, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- German banking giant Deutsche Bank reported Thursday it was in the red in the third quarter by an increase in loan loss provisions.

"These have been exceptionally difficult times for the global banking industry," said Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank's chairman. "Clearly we are not satisfied with the result for the third quarter."

The bank's pretax loss totaled $176 million (181 million euros), having posted a profit of 363 million euros during the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, the bank's revenues fell to 5.5 billion euros from 6.5 billion euros.

Aetna reports third quarter gains

HARTFORD, Conn. Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Health insurer Aetna reported Thursday its earnings for the third quarter rose to $98.8 million, compared to a $54.4 million loss during the same period a year ago.

"We have reduced our medical cost trend and medical cost ratio, increased our net premium yield and improved our operating margins," said Aetna Chairman John Rowe.

The company's revenues tumbled 22 percent to $4.8 billion, by cutting off unprofitable customers through increasing premium fees.

US third-quarter GDP grows by 3.1 percent

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy expanded at a faster clip in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter, but the pace was lower than expected, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The nation's gross domestic product expanded by 3.1 percent for the three months ended Sept. 30.

Asia stocks mostly up, but Tokyo down

SINGAPORE, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Most Asian stock markets posted small gains Thursday, walking in the footsteps of Wall Street after IBM's chief executive hinted of a bottoming of the U.S. economy. But Tokyo fell amid concerns the banking package announced by the government will not be enough to clean up the massive bad debts in the system.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 1.3 percent to 8640.48 as investor reacted with mixed feelings to the anti-deflation policy steps announced late Wednesday. There was some disappointment the proposed reforms were not drastic enough and lack specifics.

Hitachi ended down 2.4 percent, after it revised down its profit outlook for the full fiscal year. Other high-tech stocks like Sony, NEX and Fujitsu were also lower.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index ended down 1.3 percent at 9441.25. There were concerns that China Telecom's initial public offering, set to raise $3.7 billion, could be relaunched amid talk of a poor response from investors. China Mobile closed down 2.5 percent, while China Unicom fell 1.0 percent.

But the rest of Asia moved higher.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 0.14 percent to 658.92, as the market benefited from overnight gains in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Samsung Electronics rose 2.1 percent and Hynix Semiconductor was up 3.3 percent.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index finished 0.3 percent points higher at 1,463.37, supported by buying interest in a few blue chips. Singapore Telecommunications rose 2.1 percent after stating its mobile phone subscriber base surged 16.5 percent to nearly 29 million in the three months to Sept. 30 over the previous quarter.

In Kuala Lumpur, the main index rose 0.28 percent, following a late rebound in shares from Tenaga Nasional and Maybank. Both companies erased earlier losses to close unchanged.

Buying on a few blue chips lifted the Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite index 2.2 percent to 369.044. Telekomunikasi Indonesia led the gainers, up 7 percent, while Indonesian Satellite rose 3.3 percent and cigarette maker HM Sampoerna ended up 1.7 percent.

In Taiwan, the Weighted Price Index rose 1.8 percent at 4579.14, with investors finding some comfort in the overnight gains of Wall Street, despite poor performance outlook released by local companies, especially in semiconductors. United Microelectronics rose 2.9 percent, despite issuing weaker-than-expected third-quarter earnings Wednesday.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index closed up 0.5 percent at 356.65 in thin trading.

The Philippines was closed for public holiday and is to reopen Monday.

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