Consumer credit grew at a 2.8 percent annual rate, up from a revised 2.2 percent rate in October, the Federal Reserve reported. The October level originally was reported to have been 2.4 percent.

The Treasury sold $4.9 billion in 30-year bonds with an average yield of 8.60 percent and a coupon interest rate of 8.625 percent. Another $2 billion in 40-year bonds had an average yield of 8.50 percent and a coupon interest rate of 8.875 percent. The bonds were sold to help finance the thrift rescue. The Treasury also announced it will offer $20 billion in 13- and 26-week T-bills at Monday's weekly auction to raise $650 million in cash.


Ryland Group, the Columbia, Md., home building company, bought the home building arm of Stokes-Collins of Jacksonville, Fla. Last year, Stokes-Collins sold 242 homes.

ERC Environmental and Energy Services directors said the company should accept a merger offer from Ogden Corp. of New York, which owns 68.3 percent of ERC's stock. Shareholders of the Fairfax-based technical services company would get $15.13 a share.

Marriott said it will begin franchising its Courtyard by Marriott hotel line, its chain of moderate price hotels.

American Video Entertainment filed a $105 million antitrust suit alleging that Nintendo of America Inc. and its parent company, Nintendo of Japan, violated U.S. antitrust laws by using a secret lock-out system in its game consoles.

A US Sprint fiber-optic cable was accidentally cut in Indiana, disrupting Sprint customers' calling in the Fort Wayne area for more than six hours.

Rhode Island state bonds were put on "credit watch" by Standard & Poor's, meaning the credit-rating agency is reviewing the state's ability to make interest and principle payments in the midst of its banking crisis.

Martin Marietta has laid off about 100 assembly workers and inspectors at its Aero and Naval Systems facility in Glen Burnie. The furloughs resulted from a gap in the production schedule, a company spokesman said.

General Motors will lay off about 3,200 workers for two weeks at its Baltimore minivan plant later this month because of sluggish sales, the Baltimore Sun reported.

USAir said passenger miles rose 5.4 percent during December.


South Koreapromised the U.S. that it would try to settle trade disputes during an economic meeting the two countries will hold next week. The United States has been upset by a Korean campaign against luxury import items.


California's insurance commissioner froze auto insurance rates and said he would propose new regulations that would make the promise of rate rollbacks more likely.


Martin Marietta and Westinghouse jointly received Army contracts totaling $334.9 million for development of the Longrow helicopter targeting and missile system.