Pratt & Whitney cutting 100 Connecticut workers

Pratt & Whitney says it is laying off 80 hourly employees and eliminating 20 other positions through buyouts amid falling demand for repair work.

Company spokesman Bryan Kidder says the completion of a program to build engines for the F-22 fighter was another factor in the reductions.

The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported that the layoffs occurred at the company’s East Hartford location and the buyouts were split between East Hartford and a Middletown location.

The company facilities in East Hartford employ more than 1,500 workers in a machinists’ union and about 8,000 salaried employees.

The jet engine manufacturer has said it expects business to improve, but it must first get through a few years as the military shifts to new fighter jets that require different engines. 

Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters will keep full-timers’ status

The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster says it won’t bump any full-time workers down to part-time status, after its tests aimed at limiting health care costs resulted in a publicity backlash that took a bite out of sales.

At the same time, Darden Restaurants Inc. isn’t ruling out relying more heavily on part-timers over the long haul.

The company, based in Orlando, Fla., is set to announce Thursday that none of its current full-time employees will have their status changed as a result of the new regulations. The move will come just two days after the company lowered its profit outlook for the year, citing failed promotions and negative publicity from its tests that used more part-time employees. The tests were aimed at keeping down costs tied to new health care regulations, which will require large companies to provide insurance to full-time workers starting in 2014. 

Dow Jones and S&P climb while Nasdaq loses ground

U.S. stocks mostly rose Wednesday, as Wall Street applauded what appeared to be a softening of stances in talks to avert the fiscal cliff, but the Nasdaq fell with Apple Inc.

“You get the impression that there’s movement in Washington, that positions are not ideologically hardened,” said Hugh Johnson, chairman of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, N.Y.

“There is so much focus on the cliff, I’m not even sure Friday’s employment numbers are going to be important,” Johnson said.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 82.71 points, or 0.6 percent, to 13,034.49, with Travelers Cos. Inc. among its risers after the insurer estimated losses from Sandy.

The S&P 500 index climbed 2.23 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,409.28.

Leading gains on the S&P 500, Western Digital Corp. shares rose 7.3 percent after the hard-disk manufacturer became the latest company to announce an accelerated dividend.

Citigroup Inc. rallied 6.3 percent after it announced plans to cut 11,000 jobs, or 4 percent of its work force, to reduce costs.

The Nasdaq composite fell 22.99 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,973.70, ending lower for a fourth consecutive session.

Apple, the largest U.S. company by market capitalization and a big weight in both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, fell 6.4 percent to $538.79.

— From news service reports