STATE JOBLESS RATE UNCHANGED: Florida's unemployment rate in February was 5.3 percent, unchanged from the previous month, the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation reported. The agency said there were 411,000 unemployed Floridians in a work force of nearly 7.78-million, down 3,000 from January but an increase of 107,000 from February 2001.
MCDONALD'S LOWERS FORECAST: McDonald's Corp. shares fell nearly 4 percent after the fast-food chain warned that earnings will fall for a sixth quarter. First-quarter net income will be about 18 cents to 19 cents a share, the company said, and 29 cents to 30 cents excluding one-time costs. That would fall short of analysts' average estimate of 31 cents a share. McDonald's blamed its problems on a decline in the euro and fears of mad cow disease in Japan. McDonald's shares fell $1.05, to $27.65.
UNITED EXPANDING STAFF: United Airlines said it is recalling another 1,300 employees who were laid off last fall and hiring an additional 900 in key markets. The ramp, customer and cabin service employees are being recalled at United's five hubs _ Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington-Dulles _ to help the carrier meet its expanded summer schedule. United announced this month that it is adding 170 daily flights to its summer schedule, effective June 7. That would bring the airline's schedule to almost 1,900 daily flights in June, compared with 2,400 before the Sept. 11 attacks.
TRAVELERS RISES AFTER IPO: Shares of Travelers Property Casualty Corp. rose 5.7 percent after the Citigroup Inc. unit raised $3.9-billion. Travelers climbed $1.06 to $19.56 after rising as high as $19.77. The company sold 210-million shares, a 21 percent stake, at $18.50 Thursday. Citigroup plans to keep a 9.9 percent stake in Travelers and spin off the rest of the insurer by the end of the year. The Travelers IPO is the largest so far this year, the fourth-largest in history and the largest ever for the insurance industry.
FEDERATED PRESIDENT ADDS TITLE: Federated Department Stores Inc. named president Terry Lundgren its chief operating officer and extended chief executive James Zimmerman's contract by at least a year. Lundgren, 50, who also is chief merchandising officer, will assume the additional title of COO on April 15. Lundgren, who returned to Federated in 1994 after serving four years as CEO of Neiman-Marcus Group Inc., has helped to expand Federated's private-label business to 16 percent of total sales from 5 percent. Federated shares fell 88 cents to $41.80. Zimmerman's employment agreement was due to expire in May 2003.
EU STRIKES BACK AGAINST TARIFFS: The European Union has drawn up a list of imports from the United States, worth about $2.1-billion annually, to penalize in retaliation for the Bush administration's imposition of tariffs of up to 30 percent on some imported steel. American steel, textiles and citrus fruit products are among those that would face punitive duties, officials said.