Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Aston's parent says earnings to suffer

Shares of ResortQuest International Inc.fell as much as 23 percent today before recovering slightly after the company said it expects to report a loss of 20-to-24 cents a share for the fourth quarter. The company blamed a slowdown in bookings because of Y2K worries, combined with a lack of snow at its North American ski resorts. The parent of Aston Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii and operator of more than 30 resorts in the mainland and Canada, said the fourth quarter is ordinarily its lowest and usually has a loss. But this year it is worsened by a 20-to-30 percent dip in reservations as well as losses from businesses acquired since last year. However, the holiday slowdown should rebound into higher than usual bookings in the first quarter of next year, said ResortQuest, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. The company's stock closed off 87 cents, or 18 percent, to $4.06 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Exxon Mobil to cut 16,000 positions

NEW YORK -- Exxon Mobil Corp., formed last month when Exxon bought Mobil, expanded its estimate of merger savings by $1 billion and said it will cut 7,000 more jobs than it originally forecast. Cost savings from the buyout will total $3.8 billion and will be achieved in part by cutting 16,000 jobs, the world's largest publicly traded oil company said. The two companies had 123,000 workers last year. About 2,000 of the jobs were eliminated before the buyout was completed.

Oracle shares soar on strong earnings

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. -- Oracle Corp. shares jumped more than 17 percent after the world's largest database software maker said fiscal second-quarter earnings rose 40 percent, surpassing even the most optimistic forecasts. The company's shares were among the most active trading today in the market as they climbed $13.44 to $90.37 on the Nasdaq.

Oracle late yesterday reported that net income rose to $384 million, or 26 cents a share, in the quarter ended Nov. 30, from $274.1 million, or 19 cents, a year ago. That beat the 22-cent estimate.

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