ECONOMY

Personal income growth slowed from July through September for the second consecutive quarter last year as the economy was sliding toward recession, government figures show.

COMPANIES Ford plans to indefinitely lay off 520 workers at its Lorain, Ohio, assembly plant in late March because of reduced demand for Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar cars.

Lotus canceled Lotus MarketPlace: Households, a direct-mail database containing names, addresses and marketing information on 120 million Americans, because of public concerns over consumer privacy.

GM plans to eliminate one of the two production shifts at its Fairfax, Kan., car assembly plant, with as many as 1,000 hourly employees losing their jobs, United Auto Workers union officials said.

INTERNATIONAL

Communist Vietnam has enacted a law sanctioning and protecting private business in hopes of reviving its economy. The law goes into effect April 15.

Peru's President Alberto Fujimori is calling on the United States to write off part of Peru's $21 billion foreign debt to help Peru combat its thriving drug trade.

Alfa Romeo's former owner, Finmeccanica, should repay $700 million in state aid, the attorney general of the European court of justice recommended.

Kuwait's foreign investing company granted the Soviet Union $1 billion in credit, the Kuwaiti ambassador to Moscow said.

CONTRACTS

Saab Aircraft received an order for 20 Saab 340-B aircraft worth about $182 million from AMR Eagle, a division of American Airlines.

EARNINGS

Shawmut of Boston said it lost $133 million last year and would eliminate about 1,200 jobs, blaming its troubles on the real estate woes that have afflicted other banks. The company also suspended its regular dividend on the company's common stock.

Union Carbide said a charge of $45 million dropped its fourth-quarter earnings 85 percent. The company closed the year with profits down 46 percent from 1989.

Texaco and Diamond Shamrock recorded large fourth-quarter earnings increases, mostly because of higher energy prices resulting from the gulf conflict. Texaco's profit rose 35 percent to $388 million, while Diamond Shamrock reported earnings of $7.7 million compared with a loss of $23.8 million in the year-ago period. Ashland Oil reported an $11 million quarterly loss, attributed to the high price its refineries had to pay for oil.

Wang Laboratories lost $24.7 million in the second quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $10.5 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Dun & Bradstreet said its fourth-quarter earnings slipped 1.6 percent from a year ago while its profit for the year dropped 13.3 percent.

PEOPLE

Philip A. Campbell, 54, will retire as Bell Atlantic's vice chairman and chief financial officer effective March 1. William O. Albertini will become vice president and chief financial officer.

Nicholas L. Ribis, Donald Trump's chief legal counsel for casinos, was named head of Trump's struggling Atlantic City holdings.

ODD LOTS

Merck led Fortune magazine's list of most-admired corporations for the fifth year in a row, followed by Rubbermaid, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart Stores.