ECONOMY

Crude oil prices continued to fall on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 29 cents to $15.65 a barrel, its lowest closing price there since $15.49 in 1988.

COMPANIES

American Airlines asked the Department of Transportation for authority to add nonstop service between Chicago and Moscow. American plans to begin offering one round-trip flight a day April 1, 1992.

Getty Petroleum said that the U.S. government intends to indict Getty Terminals Corp. and one of the company's officers for allegedly conspiring with a customer to evade federal gasoline excise taxes in 1985.

Orbital Sciences shares hit a new high of $19.62 1/2 on speculation that the Fairfax-based space communications company will win a contract to provide launch services for about 70 communications satellites that Motorola may launch in 1992. Neither company would comment on the contract, but Motorola has scheduled a press conference in New York next Monday concerning satellite communications.

NASA has leased capacity on two of its satellites to a small Honolulu-based company, Columbia Communications, which will use it to provide commercial communications services to Europe and Asia. Columbia is the second private firm to offer trans-oceanic communications by satellite.

Tiffany has increased from $60 million to $90 million a credit line that it has with six banks, according to a report released by the SEC. The credit will be added to funds available for development of new stores and renovations.

Apple Computer and a Nynex subsidiary are jointly developing software for so-called interactive media.

On Location, the company of PC software pioneer Mitch Kapor, will offer its utility program on hard discs sold by MacAvenue.

ACQUISITIONS

Bell Atlantic will purchase the stock of Simborg Systems, a California company with 40 employees that provides information systems for hospitals. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

REGULATION

The Fed approved an application by Fleet/Norstar Financial Group to engage in brokerage and advisory services for institutional and retail customers.

CONTRACTS

Martin Marietta received a $30.9 million Air Force contract for aircraft navigation equipment for Egypt.

EARNINGS

Federated Department Stores and Allied Stores lost $99.5 million during the quarter ended May 5, but the loss was less than the retailers said they expected. The two divisions, which cited $7.7 billion in debts in filing for U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection in January, operate 260 stores in 28 states.

H.J. Heinz said its earnings increased 15.5 percent in the fourth quarter. Net income for the year ended May 2 increased 14.6 percent.

PEOPLE

Frederick B. Rentschler was named Northwest Airlines's president and chief executive. Rentschler was president and chief executive at Beatrice Cos.

ODD LOTS

The Kansas City Evening News will print its 27th and final edition Wednesday even though it was making a profit, Publisher Stephen F. Rose said. Rose blamed stubborn city officials who were forcing him to take teenage hawkers off the streets.

The New York City Employees' Retirement System has severed all ties to companies operating in South Africa, divesting $563 million in stock in 31 companies in the final phase of a four-year plan.