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BRIEFLY

CHARTER TO CLOSE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL: Charter Behavioral Health System's psychiatric hospital on Riverside Drive in Tampa is expected to close within 30 days. The 146-bed hospital stopped admitting patients Jan. 27; it will close after all patients have been transferred or released. About 307 employees are being laid off in Tampa as a result of the closing by the Alpharetta, Ga.-based chain. Charter, which is focusing on outpatient facilities, has closed more than 50 hospitals in the past six months, including in Largo and Pasco. It continues to operate in 37 locations, including Bay Harbor in Pinellas County at Largo, a 64-bed facility.

TECH STOCKS JUMP: Technology stocks bounded higher Thursday as investors decided that those companies are growing quickly enough to dodge the threat of rising interest rates. The technology-dominated Nasdaq Composite Index rose 137.02, or 3.3 percent, to 4,210.98, its third biggest point gain in history.

TECO UNIT MAKES PURCHASE: Peoples Gas Co., a unit of TECO Energy Inc., has acquired the assets of Horizon Gas Co., a Tampa propane distributor. Terms of the cash deal were not disclosed. Horizon Gas has more than 9,000 commercial and residential customers in the Tampa Bay area, increasing Peoples Gas' propane market by 15 percent. Peoples Gas is already the largest independent propane distributor in Florida with more than 60,000 customers.

HUMANA NAMES NEW CEO: Michael B. McCallister is the new president and chief executive of Humana Inc., replacing Gregory Wolf, who left in August. McCallister, 47, has been with the Louisville, Ky., health insurance company since 1974, most recently as senior vice president for the health plan division. The company will report fourth-quarter results Feb. 9. Humana also said it agreed to a management buyout of its workers' compensation services for an undisclosed amount. The division will be based in Longwood.

Earnings

USA Networks Inc.

USA Networks chairman and CEO Barry Diller poured cold water on speculation that he might take over Universal Studios from Seagram Co., the distilling, theme park and entertainment giant that owns 45 percent of Diller's company. Seagram's stock price has risen sharply since the recently announced Time Warner/America Online media marriage, prompting the Los Angeles Times to speculate some sort of deal for Seagram's movie studio assets may be in the works. "We're in no conversations about acquiring" a major studio, Diller said in discussing USA Networks' results.

Sales at St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network, a unit of USA Networks, increased 13.6 percent to $359.3-million for the quarter and hit $1.2-billion for the year, up from $1.1-billion. Diller also said his previously announced plan to add one or two cable channels hinges on his sealing a deal with another network as a partner.

4thQtr Year Ago

Revenue $936.1-mil $800.8-mil

Net Income -$17.7-mil -$14.8-mil

Per Share -5 cents -5 cents

Year Year Ago

Revenue $3.3-bil $2.9-bil

Net Income -$33.8-mil $22-mil

Per Share -10 cents 7 cents

Digex Inc.

The provider of support services for business Web sites reported a quarterly loss narrower than First Call's expected loss of 40 cents a share. "Our growth continues to be driven by the needs of enterprises, dot.coms and application service providers," said Digex president and chief executive Mark Shull. Digex, whose majority owner is Tampa's Intermedia Communications Inc., said new clients in the fourth quarter included Clorox, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and United Airlines. Shares in Digex closed at $94.75, up 13 percent. Digex is based in Beltsville, Md.

4thQtr Year Ago

Revenue $21.7-mil $7.8-mil

Net Income -$22.4-mil -$4.3-mil

Per Share -36 cents -9 cents

Year Year Ago

Revenue $59.8-mil $22.6-mil

Net Income -$65-mil -$16.6-mil

Per Share -$1.19 -33 cents

Primex Technologies Inc.

The St. Petersburg defense and aerospace company said net income rose 33 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Primex also said that acquisitions will be a key to future growth of the company, especially in the tactical missile and space systems markets.

4thQtr Year Ago

Revenue $163.9-mil $159.2-mil

Net Income $5.9-mil $4.4-mil

Per Share 55 cents 41 cents

Year Year Ago

Revenue $544.4-mil $495.3-mil

Net Income $20.4-mil $16.3-mil

Per Share $1.91 $1.51

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