MARKETS

Silver futures prices plunged sharply on New York's Commodity Exchange as the market continued to be burdened by abundant supplies. Silver bullion for current delivery fell 18.4 cents to $4.409 a troy ounce, down from Monday's $4.593. The December contract fell to a 13-year low.

COMPANIES

Saks Fifth Avenue will lay off 700 workers, about 7 percent of its work force, as it undergoes a streamlining following its purchase by an investor group earlier this year. Store officials said the chain was not in any financial bind and was planning $250 million in capital improvements in the next few years.

Carter Hawley Hale said it will cut about 1,000 jobs, about 3 percent of its work force, in a move to reduce its $1.65 billion debt load.

LTV Steel will cease operations at its Cleveland Works No. 1 Coke Plant facility during the first quarter of 1991. LTV said about 145 workers will be affected but that it expects they will be reassigned to fill openings created by attrition at the Cleveland plant.

Hechinger's said its sales for the fiscal 1991 third quarter are soft so far, with comparable store sales running in the negative low single digits.

Radiation Systems of Sterling said its board authorized its employee stock ownership plan to borrow and the company to guarantee repayment of as much as $1 million for the buyback of the company's common shares.

Cable & Wireless Communications of Vienna extended its long-distance service to more than 50 additional U.S. cities. By the end of the year, the company will reach 130 major cities in 43 states and the District.

Bell Atlantic and a Norwegian telecommunications firm will apply jointly for a license to operate a cellular telephone system in Norway.

INTERNATIONAL

A strike by 36,500 Canadian autoworkers was called off, minutes before a midnight deadline, as negotiators for the Canadian Auto Workers union and General Motors of Canada Ltd. neared a full settlement. Union president Bob White said he expected to announce a full settlement this morning.

EARNINGS

Survival Technology of Bethesda reported a loss of $360,900 in its fiscal year ended July 31, but said it expects to report a profit in the current financial year, due in part to the anticipated growth in sales of its commercial products.

REGULATION

The House failed to override President Bush's veto of legislation to limit the growth of textile and apparel imports to 1 percent a year. The vote was 275 to 152, nine votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

The SEC voted to seek public comment on rules changes that would allow Canadian companies to use forms and documents from their home country to satisfy U.S. disclosure requirements.

CONTRACTS

Lockheed received a $344.5 million U.S. Navy contract for the Trident missile program.

Raytheon won a $46.6 million Navy contract for Trident missile guidance systems.

GE received a $35.9 million Navy contract for Trident missile engineering services.

Martin Marietta won a contract worth as much as $37 million from McDonnell Douglas to produce lightweight graphite composite tail cones for the Air Force's new C-17 transport aircraft.

Advanced Technology of McLean said a subsidiary won a $30 million, three-year subcontract from Ebasco Services to support the start-up of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar nuclear plant in Spring City, Tenn.

COURTS

Delaware plans to join a lawsuit against the Federal Reserve Board that seeks to overturn an order blocking Citicorp from selling and underwriting insurance nationwide. Citicorp filed suit against the Fed late last week in federal appeals court in New York.

California's Supreme Court refused to consider a request to reduce the $5 million bail for jailed financier Charles H. Keating Jr.

PEOPLE

John G. Smale, former chairman of Procter & Gamble, will retire as an officer and employee on Jan. 1, after nearly 40 years with the company.

Dan Dorfman, formerly a financial analyst on Turner Broadcasting System's Cable News Network, has signed a multiyear deal to serve as a business commentator on the Consumer News & Business Channel.

ODD LOTS

U.S. banks' lending exposure to foreign borrowers totaled $203.51 billion in June, down from $214.81 in March, the Federal Reserve Board said.

Baldrige Awards, given by the Commerce Department to American companies that practice and promote quality, were given to four companies this year: the Cadillac division of GM; IBM's Rochester, Minn., division; Federal Express, Memphis; and Wallace Co., a private Houston petrochemical firm.