ORACLE MEETS LOWERED FORECAST: Oracle Corp.'s fiscal third-quarter earnings met analysts' lowered expectations, but the softwaremaker offered little hope of a quick recovery from its sales slump. Oracle reported net income of $582.7-million, or 10 cents a share. Wall Street originally expected earnings of 12 cents a share. Oracle likely will trim its payroll, but CEO Larry Ellison didn't specify how many jobs might be cut. Oracle's shares closed at $14.69, down $1.38, before the earnings release but recovered to $14.88 in after-hours trading.
HERMAN TO LEAD COKE TASK FORCE: Former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman will lead an independent task force at Coca-Cola Co. charged with monitoring the beverage giant's compliance with terms of a record racial discrimination lawsuit the company settled last year with black employees. In November, Coke agreed to pay a record $192.5-million to settle the lawsuit and to subject much of its management to an outside task force.
IMC MORTAGE TO DEREGISTER STOCK: IMC Mortage Co. of Tampa has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to deregister after falling under 300 shareholders of record. The move means IMC no longer has to file period reports with the agency, "and it does not intend to do so, commencing immediately," IMC said in a statement. IMC was a highflying peddler of home equity loans until the market collapsed in mid-1998. Its stock was delisted last year.
MORE AIRLINES LOWER FORECASTS: AMR Corp.'s American Airlines said it expects a "modest" first-quarter loss instead of the profit analysts had forecast, blaming declining passenger traffic and flights canceled by weather. Joining AMR in issuing a warning was United Airlines parent UAL Corp. UAL said its first-quarter loss would be "substantially" wider than analyst forecasts. Northwest, Delta and US Airways also said this week that first-quarter earnings won't meet forecasts.
REPTRON PLANS CUTBACKS: Reptron Electronics Inc. laid off about 48 employees, 20 of them in Tampa, and warned that first-quarter sales would be 15 percent to 18 percent lower than during the quarter ended Dec. 31 as a result of softening demand for electronics and electronic components. The Tampa company expects earnings to be flat, plus or minus 5 cents, for the quarter ending March 31. Reptron has about 2,100 employees, including about 800 in Tampa.
HSN EXEC ADDS DUTIES: Bob Rosenblatt, chief operating officer of Home Shopping Network, has been named president of Home Shopping-US, adding marketing, broadcasting and merchandising to his responsibilities. The move puts Rosenblatt, 43, on equal footing with Jed Trosper, president of HSN International, in reporting to Mark Bozek, president and CEO of HSN. Bill Concello, 38, HSN's senior vice president of broadcasting and programming, has been promoted to executive vice president of broadcasting and programming.