Chicago Title and Trust Co., the biggest U.S. title insurer, plans to buy its largest competitor, Ticor Title Insurance Cos. of Los Angeles. Terms of the deal, which continues a consolidation trend among title insurers, were not disclosed. The merger would create an almost $1 billion-a-year company.

State tax revenue has been sluggish despite some big tax increases, which suggests that many states are already in recession, according to a survey by the Center for the Study of the States.

Small-business optimism fell in October to its lowest level in more than 10 years, presaging a shrinking of the economy in the final quarter of the year, said a study by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Days Inn of America did not make payment on principal and interest on some long-term and short-term debt obligations. The company said it is developing a plan for restructuring its debt obligations.

General Dynamics's latest three-year contract offer was rejected by the company's largest union but there was no vote to strike. The company and the machinists union later agreed to a one-week extension of their current contract.

USX Corp. and the United Steelworkers union have recessed talks without reaching an early contract settlement. Although the current contract runs for 10 more weeks, the company and union had set a deadline of Nov. 10.