BUS BRIEFS High-tech stock options

Employees who want stock options as part of their compensation are most likely to get them at a high-tech firm.

A survey conducted by the American Electronics Association, which represents more than 3,000 technology companies in the United States, found that 84 percent of the country's publicly held tech firms routinely grant stock options to employees.

The survey of 525 chief executives found that 60 percent of those companies make stock options available to all workers at all levels. The group that gets the most options are the "rank-and-file," that's to say non-executives, which accounted for 66 percent of the options granted.

"These results did not surprise us. Years of anecdotal information led us to believe our companies were providing stock options to an overwhelmingly majority of employees, now we know for certain that this is the case," said William T. Archey, AEA president and chief executive.

Kids have the final say


When it comes to outfitting teenagers and college-bound kids with computers and other high-tech equipment, the students seem to have the final say about which PC they'll get, according to a new survey.

In an online poll of 300 high school and college students by marketing research firm Insight Express, 52 percent said they have the final say on what sort of computer they need, while 18 percent said it's a joint effort with their parents. Thirty percent said the decision rests in the hands of their parents alone.

Nine out of 10 students polled already have a computer, but one in four want a new one to make school easier. Sixteen percent said they need a new PC to get better grades.

Gen Xers hedge bets

Generation Xers, the 52 million Americans born from 1967 to 1981, are generally financially astute and well prepared to weather -- and even benefit from -- the current financial downturn, according to the 2nd Annual GenX Survey conducted by New York Life Investment Management LLC.

The survey of 530 Gen Xers found most of them began saving early and, as a result, 69 percent expect their standard of living in retirement to be greater than their parents'.

But the stock market's problems have made an impression on Xers, with 22 percent dubbing their investment style as conservative, up from 11 percent last year. Just 20 percent viewed themselves as aggressive investors, down from 36 percent in 2001.

Dow falls again


NEW YORK -- Wall Street retreated Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrials down 180 points as investors cashed in winnings from the stock market's two-day rally. Still, the market's major indexes secured their third straight weekly advance, an accomplishment not seen in nine months.

Renewed questions about corporate impropriety, this time involving Citigroup and AOL Time Warner, pressured stocks.

The Dow closed down 180.68, or 2 percent, at 8,872.96.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 42.33, or 3 percent, to 1,380.62. The Standard &; Poor's 500 index slipped 21.84, or 2.3 percent, to 940.86.

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