IN BRIEF

NEW YORK

Economic worries send stock gauges lower

Wall Street skidded lower in another fitful session Tuesday, with investors worried that the tumbling economy may not only cripple mortgage lenders like Countrywide Financial Corp. but also create problems for other companies like AT&T. The Dow Jones industrials fell nearly 240 points.

Investors tried to take the market higher at many points during the day, but eventually succumbed to another stream of bad news. The Dow and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are down more than 5 percent so far this year and the Nasdaq composite index is down nearly 8 percent, having been pummeled since Jan. 1 due to worse-than-anticipated readings on the economy.

The Dow fell 238.42, or 1.86 percent, to 12,589.07, after ratcheting up and down through the day.

Broader stock indicators also sank. The S&P 500 index dropped 25.99, or 1.84 percent, to 1,390.19, and the Nasdaq, reflecting uneasiness about tech stocks after AT&T’s news, declined 58.95, or 2.36 percent, to 2,440.51.

RENO

Nevadans pay more at pump as 2008 starts

Nevadans are beginning the new year paying an average of $3.14 per gallon of gasoline — 56 cents per gallon more than they paid in January 2007.

The statewide average for regular, unleaded gasoline is up a penny from a month ago and slightly higher than the national average of $3.11, AAA of Nevada said Tuesday in its monthly report.

The national average is now just 12.3 cents short of setting a new record-high price for gasoline. Nevada is tied with Nebraska and Wisconsin for the 16th most expensive gasoline in the country.

NEW YORK

Avon Products to cut 2,400 jobs in reshuffle

Avon Products on Tuesday said it will cut 2,400 jobs as part of its multiyear restructuring plan, which will cost more than originally expected and ultimately save the beauty-products maker $430 million annually.

Avon’s restructuring program, unveiled in November 2005, will cost $530 million, up from a previous estimate of $500 million, of which $460 million will have been taken through the fourth quarter of 2007. The rest will be recognized by the end of 2009.

About 4,000 jobs globally will be cut by the restructuring, but new jobs will be created, resulting in a net reduction of 2,400 jobs.

NEW YORK

CEO to relinquish role at Bear Stearns

Bear Stearns Cos. Chief Executive James "Jimmy" Cayne said Tuesday he will give up day-to-day control of the fifth-largest U.S. investment bank amid unprecedented losses from the subprime mortgage crisis.

Cayne, 73, will serve as nonexecutive chairman of the New York-based company, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press. He will be succeeded as CEO by President Alan Schwartz, effective immediately.

Cayne added that his new role as nonexecutive chairman will be as an "advisory capacity" to Schwartz, and he is no longer an employee of Bear Stearns. The memo did not state when Cayne might give up the chairman position.

SEATTLE

Microsoft will buy Norwegian company

Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it agreed to buy a Norwegian search company for $1.2 billion, aiming to shore up its search technology for businesses against competition from Oracle Corp. and IBM Corp.

Microsoft’s cash offer of 19 kroner ($2.97) per share for Fast Search & Transfer ASA represented a 42 percent premium over the stock’s Jan. 4 closing price.

NEW YORK

Treasury issues flat; corporate issues gain

Treasury prices stalled Tuesday for the first time in 2008 as investors turned their sights to large corporate bond offerings.

The 10-year benchmark Treasury note finished unchanged on the session at 103.31 with a yield of 3.84 percent, matching its standing late Monday, according to BGCantor Market Data.

The 30-year long bond lost 0.03 points to 110.63 with a 4.36 percent yield, up slightly from 4.35 percent late Monday.

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