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August 10, 2000|Times Staff, Wire Reports

Fed up with a stock price that's hovering near its lowest level since 1995, retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co. (ticker symbol: S) said Wednesday it would buy back as much as $1 billion of its shares. But shareholders may wonder whether it's enough: Sears has almost completed a $1.5-billion repurchase program authorized in March 1999, yet its stock remains depressed.

The news came late in the day. The stock ended down 88 cents at $31 on the NYSE. At the current price Sears could buy back as much as 9.5% of its shares outstanding.

Analysts noted that investors remain nervous about who will succeed outgoing CEO Arthur Martinez. . . .

Vitesse Semiconductor shares (VTSS) got a big boost Wednesday, soaring $9.38 to $70.31, after Banc of America Securities analyst Alex Gauna upgraded the Camarillo-based company to "strong buy" from "buy." Vitesse, which makes chips that speed data transmission, "is entering a new phase of accelerating growth," Gauna said. . . .

Online sports media firm Broadband Sports of Santa Monica, headed by former Walt Disney executive Richard Nanula, said it withdrew its planned initial public offering. It cited market conditions.

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