MARKETS

T-bill rates rose at the government's monthly auction. The average discount rate on 52-week bills was 7.40 percent, up from 7.34 percent at the last auction on July 26. The bills will carry an equivalent coupon interest rate of 7.95 percent.

NASD' plan to extend over-the-counter stock trading hours to before dawn has been delayed by a regulatory hitch. Continuing negotiations with the SEC will push back the expected start from September until later in the fall, a NASD official said.

ECONOMY

Factory orders for durable goods rose 2.9 percent in July, the government reported, but analysts said the zig-zag performance so far this year indicates a listless manufacturing economy that could worsen because of the Middle East crisis.

The Big Three automakers said their mid-August car and truck sales were 9 percent below last year, when the companies offered big incentives.

CONTRACTS

AT&T signed a $15 million, three-year contract with ITT Sheraton to provide long-distance operator service to the hotel operator's 52 U.S. properties and to another 280 independently run Sheraton holdings.

McDonnell Douglas received $146.2 million in contracts for Air Force F-15 aircraft and Army shoulder-launched assault weapons.

COMPANIES

Honeywell said it will eliminate 120 of the 8,300 jobs at its defense and marine systems division, which is being reorganized in preparation for a spinoff. The cuts are part of continuing efforts to improve the division's position in the defense industry, executives said.

Zapata announced three actions to stave off a bankruptcy filing. It plans to sell 90 percent of its oil drilling rigs to a European group for $280 million, restructure $560 million of senior debt and make a cash tender offer to holders of $78 million in subordinated debt.

Mobil said it will restructure the operations of its 16 European marketing and refining affiliates to improve efficiency and take advantage of opportunities associated with a single European market in 1992. Europe-wide responsibility for selected business operations will be centralized in London.

Walt Disney World and Actors Equity reached their first contract accord, a three-year deal covering Disney's Florida theme park performers.

Sovran Financial, in cooperation with Weyerhaeuser Paper, launched a paper-recycling program at Sovran offices designed to reclaim 450 tons of paper each year. Aluminum from company cafeterias in Richmond and Norfolk also will be recycled.

Maryland Federal Bancorp, the Hyattsville-based holding company for Maryland Federal Savings and Loan Association, said it would buy back as many as 20,000 common shares on the open market. Its stock fell 75 cents on volume of 28,100 shares on the over-the-counter market yesterday, closing at $8.25.

Intel's directors authorized the repurchase of up to 20 million shares, or about 10 percent, of the company's common stock and equivalents outstanding.

GM and Ford presented the United Auto Workers with comprehensive proposals for new three-year contracts. GM offered a 2 percent wage increase and Ford offered a lump payment in lieu of base wage increases, but neither firm suggested major changes in job-security programs, company and union officials said.

COURTS

A federal grand jury charged former executives and borrowers of Security Savings Association in Texas with bank fraud and conspiracy to deceive the former Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Charged in the eight-count indictment were majority owners Clifton W. Brannon and Don G. Jones, ex-president Ronald C. Hertlein and major borrowers David M. Saks and James Doyle Spruill. Security Savings was closed by regulators in 1987.

A former S&L president was charged with embezzling more than $1 million. Richard Kukielski, who headed West Town Savings & Loan in Cicero, Ill., was accused of accepting 212 worthless checks from a customer to conceal his misappropriations.

Michael Moers, 39, of Los Angeles, former chairman and co-owner of the now-defunct Brookside Savings and Loan Association in California, was charged by federal prosecutors with four counts of criminal conduct in three transactions allegedly involving the use of straw men to conceal interests in real estate transactions.

Florida officials want to open a secret stock settlement between Times Publishing Co. and billionaire Robert Bass, saying it may harm the nonprofit Poynter Institute. State Attorney General Bob Butterworth, in a letter to the institute, said he would take the issue to court unless the institute provides details of the settlement.