ECONOMY Initial jobless claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 452,000 for the week ended Nov. 17, a decrease of 36,000 from a week earlier, the Labor Department said. Americans' savings rate edged up to 3.8 percent from 3.5 percent in September.

COMPANIES Nestle and Coca-Cola have signed a deal to set up a joint venture that will produce and market ready-to-drink coffee and tea drinks. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. says it hopes to reach an agreement with bankers by early January on a new financing agreement that would defer repayment on about $5 billion in debt for the next three years. Spicer & Oppenheim of New York will announce today that it is closing down its nationwide network of offices, sources close to the financially troubled accounting firm told the Dallas Morning News. Trefoil Capital Investors, a partnership formed by Roy E. Disney's Shamrock Holdings, said it has dropped plans to buy Child World, the nation's second-largest toy retailer. It gave no reason. Messerschmitt, the aerospace subsidiary of Germany's largest industrial group, Daimler-Benz, plans to cut 10 percent of its work force at its main German production complex at Ottobrunn, the company's labor union said. Lockheed's board will meet next week to discuss Texas investor Harold Simmons's proposal to take the aerospace giant private in a $1.6 billion deal.

ACQUISITIONS Super 8 Enterprises, one of the largest franchised motel chains in North America with 775 motels in 47 states and four Canadian provinces, said it will be sold to an unidentified group of Hong Kong investors for an undisclosed amount of money. The Associated Press quoted one source as saying the sale price is more than $100 million.

INTERNATIONAL The European Community imposed anti-dumping duties on U.S. and Japanese imports of Aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in soft drinks and food. The EC said NutraSweet, the U.S. exporter, charged half as much in Europe for its product as in the United States, causing "material injury" to Holland Sweetener, the EC's only Aspartame maker.

REGULATION The FDIC, as expected, voted to ask for public comment on a regulation that would prevent S&Ls from avoiding certain restrictions by becoming state-chartered savings banks.

COURTS Black & Decker is suing 20th Century Fox and the marketing firm of KrownYoung & Rubicam of failing to fulfill a promise that a Black & Decker drill would appear in the movie "Die Hard 2."

CONTRACTS Boeing's helicopter division received a 47-month contract worth more than $250 million to modernize Britain's Chinook helicopter fleet. Lucas Western's applied technology division in Reston received a contract worth more than $44 million from General Electric's aircraft engine business to produce the engine-mounted accessory drive and power take-off drive for the CF34 engine.

PEOPLE UAL Corp. named John C. Pope to the newly created post of vice chairman of the company and its principal subsidiary, United Airlines.