FRAMINGHAM (02/04/2000) - SEC Orders Stock Quotes in DecimalsThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered U.S. securities markets to begin quoting securities prices in decimals rather than fractions on July 3.

The order calls for the New York Stock Exchange Inc. and the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. to phase in decimal pricing by year's end. Stocks will trade in 5-cent increments from July 3 to the end of the year, before going to 1-cent increments.

Big Oil Companies Outsource IT

A consortium of oil companies awarded El Segundo, Calif.-based Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) a $390 million, seven-year information technology outsourcing contract. The Houston-based CSC team will comprise more than 300 IT workers. They will support mainframe computers, midrange servers, LANs and WANs for joint venture companies formed in 1998 by a consortium that includes Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Texaco Inc. and Saudi Aramco.

Tech-SupportWorkers Get a Raise

Technical-support employees are finally seeing some rewards in return for their work, according to a report from The Association of Support Professionals in Watertown, Mass. Salaries for frontline support employees, such as customer service representatives and senior support technicians, jumped 3% to 8% last year, while pay for top-level support managers remained almost the same.

Compaq, HP PushSAN Initiatives

The storage-area network (SAN) market will heat up next week when Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. announce SAN initiatives. Compaq will announce its Vision 2000 SAN strategy today. HP will roll out its Open SAN Initiative covering hardware, software and services.

IBM Offers ERP Help

IBM Global Services last week announced its extended enterprise service for companies that have just implemented an enterprise resource planning package.

Post-implementation services include change management, training, high availability and disaster recovery.

$192B Wireless Deal

Mannesmann AG agreed to a friendly $192 billion takeover offer from Vodafone AirTouch PLC, ending months of wrangling. Officials for the new wireless telecommunications giant will have dual headquarters in the U.K. and Germany.

Rite Aid Taps New CIO

RiteAid Corp. in Camp Hill, Pa., appointed Don P. Davis, 48, as its new senior vice president and CIO. Davis was previously vice president for application delivery at Lowe's Companies Inc. in North Wilkesboro, N.C. Davis said his priority would be to help the company work through its financial difficulties.

Rite Aid's CEO left in October after the company discovered accounting irregularities.

DoubleClick Protest

The Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington launched an e-mail campaign to protest alleged privacy violations by DoubleClick Inc. The protest came after DoubleClick revealed plans to build a database of consumer profiles that would include users' names, addresses and online purchases.

Short Takes

Business Objects SA reported 1999 net income of $23.8 million, up 131% from $10.3 million in 1998. Its revenue rose 45% to $241.6 million. ... Epicor Software Corp. plans to announce software that supports online sales and lets customers check their account records online. ... The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RECORDING MERCHANDISERS in Marlton, N.J., sued SONY CORPORATION OF AMERICA, alleging Sony forces retailers to direct their customers to Sony's online stores.