WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan signaled Tuesday that further cuts in interest rates may be needed to help an economy facing significant ''downside risks.'' He said President Bush's effort to speed up tax relief won't prevent recession.
Greenspan faced a barrage of questions from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee about his statement last month that endorsed the use of the government's ballooning surpluses for tax relief.
While not backing off from his support of tax cuts, Greenspan said he holds to the belief that paying off the national debt remains the top priority. He repeated his Jan. 25 comments that he believes surplus estimates are so large they can accommodate both goals.
SINGAPORE (AP) -- Asia has backhanded the Anna Kournikova computer virus.
With a day to prepare, companies in Asia were ready Tuesday for the e-mail clogging virus that promised to deliver an electronic photo of the blond teen-age tennis star. The virus failed to infect as many computers as it did in Europe and the United States.
Australia was hit hardest, with an estimated 100,000 computers infected by the e-mail. However, other governments in Asia reported little or no impact.
Security experts say the virus writer is known as ''OnTheFly'' and used script tools that allow anyone with minimal programming skills to generate a virus.
On Tuesday, a person who goes by ''OnTheFly'' posted a claim of responsibility, saying the virus was released as a warning to Internet users who are lax about security.
The latest virus comes as an e-mail attachment named ''AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs'' and carries the message ''Hi: Check This!''
When the user clicks on the attachment, the virus is released, worming its way into address books and sending itself to everyone on the list, clogging e-mail servers. The e-mail does not actually contain a photo of the tennis star.
STRASBOURG, France (AP) -- The European Union's parliament plans to vote Wednesday on tougher rules on genetically modified food, a controversial move that could lead to the end of a licensing moratorium of new biotech products.
The 626-member European Parliament is expected to approve proposals that include stricter labeling and monitoring of genetically altered foods, feeds, and pharmaceutical products; phasing out the use of antibiotic marker genes in altering food plants,and setting up a public registry where consumers can trace genetically modified foods.
Genetically engineered foods are unpopular in Europe. A survey cited by the European Commission last year found 66 percent of Europeans see them as a health hazard. However, 81 percent said they want more information about the precise risks, if any.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Pfizer Corp. has halted some clinical trials of a painkilling medication after federal regulators voiced concern over a study suggesting the medication increased incidence of tumors in mice.
New York-based Pfizer sent written notices Monday to hospitals and research centers to stop giving the drug pregabalin to patients who suffer chronic pain.
Pfizer said in a statement late Monday that it still expects the drug to win Food and Drug Administration approval this year despite the setback. There is no evidence that the drug causes tumors in humans, Pfizer said.
The FDA cited results of a study that found the drug increased incidence of a particular type of tumor in mice. However, ''a similar lifetime dosing study in rats did not show increases in any tumor type,'' Pfizer said.
Pfizer spokeswoman Mariann Caprino said Tuesday that while the pain-related clinical trials have been halted, others are continuing for patients with epilepsy and a variety of anxiety disorders. About 2,400 people nationwide are involved in the trials, including 1,000 in the pain trials.
NEW YORK (AP) -- In a move to expand its presence in the New York metropolitan area, Citibank will pay $1.6 billion for European American Bank, which has branches in New York City and Long Island.
Citibank's purchase of EAB from the Dutch bank ABN Amro also involves the assumption of $350 million in outstanding preferred stock, the banks said in a joint statement.
Citibank is the banking arm of the New York-based Citigroup Inc., already the nation's largest banking company in terms of assets and one of the biggest financial services companies in the world. Its assets as of last June 30 totaled more than $792 billion.
Despite its size, Citibank still trails J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in retail services in the New York area.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Insurance powerhouse MetLife Inc.'s fourth-quarter results met Wall Street's expectations, helped by a 20 percent surge in revenues.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, the New York-based company earned $591 million, or 74 cents per share, compared with $266 million or 34 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Excluding investment gains and a surplus tax credit of $175 million, Met Life earned $404 million, or 51 cents per share. In the year-ago period, also excluding items, Met Life earned $370 million, or 47 cents per share.
Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial were expecting 51 cents per share.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $8.38 billion from $6.98 billion in the year-ago period.
For the year, MetLife earned $953 million, or $1.21 per share, on revenue of $32.34 billion. In 1999, MetLife earned $617 million on revenue of $25.49 billion.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Less than half of seafood firms are following safety standards to ensure Americans don't eat bad fish, and government inspectors aren't cracking down on violations, says a scathing new congressional report on seafood safety.
The Food and Drug Administration acknowledged some problems and put seafood companies on alert: Instead of annual inspections, FDA inspectors will visit firms it considers high-risk repeatedly this year to check for contamination, and act quickly to shut down those that violate safety rules.
The get-tough pledge comes as the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm, said the FDA has improved seafood safety but that serious gaps remain.
The FDA unveiled a strict new safety program in 1997 that was supposed to prevent 60,000 of the estimated 114,000 food poisonings Americans suffer from bad seafood each year.
SEATTLE (AP) -- Calling it a product that would be as useful for his mother as for businesses, Microsoft Corp. vice president Jim Allchin on Tuesday said the new Windows XP desktop operating system was ''the experience that I've always wanted to build.''
At a news conference previewing the software, which is to be released in the second half of this year, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates called Windows XP ''the most important release since Windows 95,'' which was a runaway hit for the Redmond-based company. But instead of offering new gadgets, the new system primarily seems to make existing features easier to find and use.
Gates said XP, short for ''experience,'' cost more than $1 billion to develop, above the cost of the Windows 2000 system it is based on, but declined to say how much it would sell for. It is the first consumer-oriented system to use the more reliable Windows 2000 software code, which was designed for heavier-duty corporate and Internet users.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As if low crop prices weren't tough enough, the nation's farm economy is now being battered by soaring costs for energy and fertilizer.
Net farm income is likely to drop 20 percent, or $9 billion, over the next two years unless there is a fresh outpouring of federal aid, an agricultural policy institute told Congress on Tuesday.
Farmers received $8 billion in emergency aid last year and lawmakers are virtually certain to pass another large bailout this year. Congress will begin hearings this month on a long-term overhaul of farm policy that includes proposals for a new system for subsidizing growers when crop income is down.
The cost of fuel that farmers need for tractors, combines and irrigation equipment jumped 31 percent last year, according to the congressionally funded Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, which is based at the University of Missouri.
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Canadian Pacific Ltd., the conglomerate created in 1881 to build a Canadian transcontinental railway, announced plans Tuesday to split into five separate publicly traded companies.
The moves would give Canadian Pacific shareholders new stakes in five firms with the parent company's primary business becoming its luxury hotel chain.
Canadian Pacific said it intends to distribute its 86 percent investment in PanCanadian Petroleum and its 100 percent interests in Canadian Pacific Railway, shipping company CP Ships and the Fording coal company to holders of Canadian Pacific's common shares.
By The Associated Press
Disgruntled investors sold stocks lower Tuesday, suffering a letdown after Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan suggested interest rates will fall by a smaller amount than Wall Street wants.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 43.45 to close at 10,903.32, and the Nasdaq composite index tumbled 61.94 to 2,427.72.
March crude oil futures slid 15 cents to $30.36 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange, as traders sought to limit their risk ahead of expected inventory builds in reports released late Tuesday and early Wednesday, analysts said.
In other markets, nearby February hogs, which expire Wednesday, posted their lowest settlement since late September, falling 0.77 cents to 52.75 cents a pound.
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