Tech leads way as markets rebound

NEW YORK -- A dose of good economic news sent stocks sharply higher Wednesday and erased the Dow Jones industrials' big plunge of last week.

The Dow rose nearly 149 points to return to where it stood before Thursday's tumble that briefly took the average down almost 1,000 points. The index is up 5 percent in three days, its best gain since July.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index led major indexes with a 2.1 percent gain. Investors moved into tech stocks ahead of earnings from network gear maker Cisco Systems and following an upbeat forecast from IBM.

Analysts say the rebound from last week's drop reflects growing confidence that Europe's debt problems are contained for now.

Vendors returning to market shed

City Market vendors have begun moving back into the easternmost shed that has been under renovation in recent weeks.

Their move marks the end of the first phase of the market makeover, which spruced up the three open-air buildings between North Market and South Market streets.

Hank Holliday, a partner in the Charleston Market Preservation Trust, said the work was completed on time and under budget. The city issued a bond for the work, which the trust will repay through revenue.

This fall, the trust plans to begin renovating the enclosed market section between Church Street and the recently restored Market Head Hall building on Meeting Street.

Barry Newton, general manager of the City Market, said the renovation was done with as quickly as possible to minimize disruptions to vendors who sell their wares 364 days a year.

Aquarium growth spawns promotion

The S.C. Aquarium promoted its chief financial officer, Jack Higgins, adding vice president and chief operating officer to his previous title, it was announced Wednesday.

The aquarium attributed the move to the Charleston attraction's growth. It will allow Kevin Mills, president and chief executive, to focus more on external relations, marketing, board affairs and growth strategies. Higgins joined the aquarium as director of finance administration in 1997.

Macy's net better than anticipated

LOS ANGELES -- Department store giant Macy's said Wednesday that it swung to a better-than- expected profit in its first quarter thanks to strong sales in stores and online, better inventory control and an overhaul of its merchandise strategy. For the three months ended May 1, the chain reported a net profit of $23 million compared with a loss of $88 million in the year- earlier period.

SAP deal turns up rivalry with Oracle

SAN FRANCISCO -- German business software maker SAP AG has agreed to buy Sybase Inc. in a $5.8 billion deal that ratchets up SAP's rivalry with database leader Oracle Corp.

SAP said the acquisition also will give it key technology from Sybase that lets business programs run on mobile phones.

The deal also intensifies the battle between SAP and Oracle to run more of the programs that corporations use to manage their data.