Stocks close first half of '08 quietly

NEW YORK — Wall Street ended an arduous first half quietly Monday, closing mixed as investors again based their trades on what is now the dominant force in the market: the price of oil. The major indexes closed out the first six months of 2008 with double-digit declines and are perilously close to the levels of a bear market.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 3.50, or 0.03 percent, to 11,350.01 Monday. The S&P 500 rose 1.62, or 0.13 percent, to 1,280.00, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 22.65, or 0.97 percent, to 2,292.98.

For the year, the Dow is down 1,914.81, or 14.44 percent; the S&P is down 188.36, or 12.83 percent; and the Nasdaq is down 359.30, or 13.55 percent.

Sign maker to shut plant in Columbia

COLUMBIA — A Tennessee sign manufacturer is closing its Columbia plant, eliminating 60 jobs. ImagePoint plans to consolidate its production at a plant in Cincinnati.

Employees are being given 60 days' notice and will be laid off in phases. ImagePoint will provide severance packages and sponsor a job fair.

Wachovia to drop home loan option

CHARLOTTE — Wachovia Corp. will quit offering on new home loans a payment option that allows borrowers to pay less each month than the bank charges in interest.

The choice to pay less was one of the options of the controversial Pick-A-Payment mortgages, which offer customers four different payment options each month. Critics have said paying less than the amount of interest charged can increase the odds of foreclosure.

S. Korean firm to buy StarKist owner

SAN FRANCISCO — Del Monte will sell its seafood unit, including StarKist, to South Korea's Dongwon Enterprise Co. for $363 million as it focuses on higher-margin produce and pet foods.

The sale includes manufacturing operations in American Samoa and Ecuador, and manufacturing assets in Terminal Island, Calif., and Ecuador. All of Del Monte's plant employees related to the seafood business are expected to join Dongwon.

Sales of knockoffs costly to eBay Inc.

PARIS — A French court Monday ordered eBay Inc. to pay about $61 million to high-end fashion company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton because counterfeit goods were sold on the auction site.

LVMH said it was hurt by the sale of knockoffs on eBay. EBay said LVMH wants to crack down on online auctions because it is uncomfortable with the business model, which tends to cut out the middleman. Ebay said it hopes to appeal.

Chrysler to close its Missouri plant in Oct.

Chrysler LLC said Monday it will close one Missouri plant indefinitely this fall and cut production at another due to slumping demand for trucks and other large vehicles.

Officials said in a conference call that that they will shutter the St. Louis South plant, which makes minivans, effective Oct. 31. The St. Louis North plant, which makes full-size pickup trucks, will reduce operations from two shifts to one.

Chrysler said the moves would affect 2,400 jobs — 1,500 at the minivan plant and 900 at the pickup truck plant.