Hills Department Stores, one of the nation's largest discount store chains, filed for bankruptcy court protection in Massachusetts, saying it was unable to devise a plan to resolve its debt.

Several more big banks slashed their prime lending rates half a percentage point to 9 percent in reaction to last week's rate cut by the Federal Reserve. They included Chase Manhattan, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, Chemical Bank, Bank of New York and Mellon Bank.

The European Community's offer to reduce subsidies to aircraft maker Airbus Industrie are not deep enough to end a four-year dispute with the United States, U.S. officials said.

United Press International said a sale of the Washington-based wire service by May "seems likely" and asked its unionized editorial workers to extend a pay cut for another three months. Union workers would receive 75 percent of their former wages, up from 65 percent currently, under a gradual phase-in plan offered by UPI's management. Workers will vote on the plan this month.

Eastern Air Lines's assets were put on the auction block, setting off a confused bidding war for routes, gates and landing slots. For sale were assets Eastern agreed to sell either before or shortly after it ran out of cash and halted service Jan. 18.

Lockheed said its 1990 earnings rose to $335 million from $2 million in 1989, when it had huge overruns on several projects it was developing for the government. The nation's sixth-largest defense contractor also slapped aside a request by its largest shareholder, Harold Simmons, by setting its annual meeting date for April 2, instead of late May, as Simmons had requested.