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Markets spin sharply lower

NEW YORK, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes spun sharply lower Tuesday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined new initiatives to bolster financial systems.

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Geithner outlined a three-step plan that investors said was still lacking details concerning frozen assets creating gridlock on the banks' books.

"There's still no resolution. We still have no way to value the assets," Richard Peterson, director of risk strategies at Standard & Poor's, told The Wall Street Journal.

The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted soon after the speech was broadcast. By close, the DJIA was off 381.99 points, or 4.62 percent, to 7,888.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 4.91 percent, 42.73 points, to 827.16. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 66.83 points, 4.2 percent, to 1,524.73.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 470 stocks advanced and 2,621 declined on a volume of 5.6 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose 1 17/32 to yield 2.814 percent.

The euro fell to $1.2899, compared to Monday's $1.3013. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar fell to 90.48 yen, from Monday's 91.44 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei average lost 23.09 points, 0.29 percent, to 7,945.94.

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In London, the FTSE 100 index fell 2.19 percent, 94.53 points, to 4,213.08.


Intel to invest $7 billion in upgrades

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. microchip giant Intel said it would invest $7 billion on factory upgrades in order to produce new, 32-nanometer circuitry.

The new chip improves on the 45-nanometer circuitry currently in production, The (Portland, Ore.) Oregonian reported Tuesday.

The two-year investment includes work on production sites in New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon, where it is the state's largest for-profit employer with 15,000 workers, the newspaper said.

Intel said it would close down an outdated facility in Hillsboro, Ore., called Fab 20, where 1,000 workers are employed.

While some could lose their jobs, the company said some could switch over to the new 32-nanometer production facility, the newspaper said.


GM to cut 10,000 salaried jobs

DETROIT, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. auto giant General Motors Corp. said Tuesday it would cut 10,000 salaried positions to adjust to a prolonged sales slump.

The automaker is hunkering down for a year in which domestic auto sales are predicted to decline to about 10.5 million vehicles. The company is also pushing to assemble a financial viability plan by Feb. 17, one of the terms stipulated in a $13.4 billion loan agreement with the federal government.

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The job cuts amount to 14 percent of its salaried workforce, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Researchers at R.L. Polk & Co. said Tuesday that worldwide auto sales were expected to fall 13 percent this year, including a 19 percent decline in the United States.

U.S. sales fell 17 percent in 2008, the firm said.

GM also said Tuesday that Vice Chairman Robert Lutz would move to a semi-retirement role of vice chairman and senior adviser.

"Bob Lutz was already a legendary automotive product guy when he rejoined GM in 2001, and he's added to that by leading the creation of a string of award-winning vehicles for GM during his time here," GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said in a statement.


Recipe safe, KFC launches value menu

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. fast-food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken said Tuesday it would offer a new value menu and dare reporters to steal its secret recipe.

The company said would initiate a menu that boasted 99-cent KFC Snacker sandwiches, two biscuits or two apple turnovers; $1.49 side salad or KFC toasted wrap, and $1.99 box lunches, (including popcorn chicken with potato wedges or three hot wings with potato wedges), snack-sized bowl or a honey barbecued sandwich.

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It also promised to provide reporters a lunch from the new menu and a chance to crack the safe in Louisville, Ky., where it has moved the original, handwritten recipe penned by Col. Harland Sanders in 1940.

Good luck. The computerized safe containing the recipe weighs 770 pounds and requires a smart key and a personal identification number to open. Features include a silent alarm, a preset timer that allows entrance only at preordained times and a 24-hour electronic surveillance system. In addition, it is encased in 2-foot-thick concrete walls, ceiling and floor, the company said.

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