Inventories rose 0.7 percent in July, erasing the previous month's decline, while sales fell 0.5 percent, the government reported. Federally guaranteed loans worth $12 billion will go into default this fiscal year, according to Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman John Glenn (D-Ohio). The government's liabilities on such guarantees this year is $488 billion.

MARKETS T-bill rates fell. The Treasury sold $9.2 billion in three-month bills at an average discount rate of 7.39 percent, down from 7.41 percent last week, and $9.2 billion in six-month bills at an average discount rate of 7.30 percent, down from 7.34 percent last week.

COMPANIES Exxon said it will spend $1 billion to develop Mobile Bay deep gas reserves off Alabama. Production may begin in 1993. MCI and IBM formed a new not-for-profit firm, Advanced Network & Services, to sell research institutions access to a federally funded high-speed computer network, NSFNet. Pandick, a New York printer of prospectuses, proxy materials and other financial documents, filed for bankruptcy reorganization, becoming another casualty of a business slowdown on Wall Street. It dismissed 725 of its 750 employees on Friday. Eastern Enterprises, a $1 billion company in Massachusetts, signed an agreement to acquire some assets and operations of A&P Water and Sewer Supplies Inc. of Fairfax. The Bertelsmann media group of West Germany has teamed up with British publisher Robert Maxwell to take over Berliner Verlag, East Germany's largest newspaper and magazine publishing group. Warren Buffett and his holding group, Berkshire Hathaway, agreed to raise their stake in PS Group, a combined aircraft leasing and holding company, to 22.5 percent. First Gibraltar acquired Oklahoma's largest thrift, Sooner Federal Savings and Loan of Tulsa, and its $1.1 billion in assets. First Gibraltar is a Texas thrift created two years ago as part of the government's controversial Southwest Plan.

CONTRACTS GE received a contract potentially worth $100 million to supply the Navy with 50 engines to power its fleet of Lockheed S-3 aircraft. GTE Spacenet of McLean won a two-year contract from Gannett Broadcasting to distribute Gannett programming by satellite. Terms were not disclosed. Computer Sciences Corp. won a $65 million contract from the Army Training and Doctrine Command to provide scientific support services to the Army's Texcom Experimentation Center at Fort Hunter Liggett and Fort Ord, Calif.

COURTS A federal judge threw out a lawsuit accusing Carl Icahn of extortion and racketeering in connection with his "greenmail" agreement to sell back a 19.9 percent stake to Viacom International Inc. A federal jury in Dallas found Woodrow O. Brownlee and John W. Harrell, two former executives of Commodore Savings and Loan, guilty of diverting $1 million in Commodore funds through a phony real estate transaction.

PEOPLE Horst Schulmann, Washington spokesman for some of the world's largest banks, bitterly criticized the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for continuing to lend money to debtor nations that miss their interest payments to commercial banks.