Merrill Lynch and Prudential-Bache will increase the commission rates they charge customers to buy or sell stocks. Also, Pru-Bache and Shearson Lehman are discussing the possibility of combining their back-office operations, according to Wall Street executives.

Intel developed a speedier and smaller version of its flagship 80486 microprocessor chip to challenge technology that could jeopardize Intel's market share.

MCA Music Entertainment Group launched a joint venture with the Japanese firm JVC to develop and market audio and visual software products in Japan.

Sandoz Pharmaceuticals has been sued by 23 states, which accuse it of price fixing and other violations in marketing Clozaril, a new drug for schizophrenics.


Givens & Williams, a Fairfax insurance agency, agreed to buy NVInsurance, a subsidiary of NVHomes of McLean. Terms were not disclosed.

Integrated Health Services, a privately held nursing home company in Hunt Valley, Md., acquired Health Care Management of Dayton, Ohio. Integrated will take over contracts at 12 nursing facilities as well as ownership of four nursing care centers. Terms were not disclosed.

Navistar acquired a one-third interest in American Transportation, a private maker of school bus bodies, commercial vehicles and military bus bodies. Terms were not disclosed.


Germany's industrial output in its five new eastern states dropped 50 percent from 1989, the Economics Ministry said. The new eastern states remain in a "serious restructuring process," the report said.


The Office of Thrift Supervision proposed a rule that would require the stockholders of a thrift gambling on interest-rate changes to put more of their own capital behind the institution's investments. It also sought a civil contempt order against former CenTrust chairman David Paul for not posting a $30.8 million bond. Meanwhile, the board of the FDIC voted to ask Congress for the power to tie deposit insurance premiums to risk.


Financial News Network suffered losses totaling $72.4 million for fiscal year 1990, the cable television firm said. It cited accounting changes totaling $65 million, new product development costs and payments to its sister company, United Press International, as reasons for the loss.

Federated and Allied department stores said they lost $86.7 million in the third quarter, compared with a loss of $92.5 million in the same period last year.

A&P reported its third-quarter earnings were up 3 percent.


Charles E. Exley Jr., chairman of NCR, told an Ohio legislative committee that communications-computer industry mergers have a dismal record and AT&T's $6.1 billion hostile takeover bid for NCR is "not in the best interests of the people of this state."

William U. Parfet, Upjohn's executive vice president, will become president of the company on Jan. 1.


Top executives don't like what they see in the talent pool for potential managers, according to a survey by the Wyatt Co.

IBM and Cummins Engine were the top corporate donors to charity in 1989, according to a survey by the Public Management Institute of San Francisco. IBM gave $135 million, while Cummins, an Indiana diesel maker, gave the largest percentage of pretax income, 16.5 percent.