ECONOMY Consumer credit fell at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in December, the steepest decline in nearly four years, the Federal Reserve said. The report surprised analysts, because December usually is a busy shopping month.

COMPANIES AT&T selected 13 nominees for election to the board of NCR as part of the phone company's hostile $6.1 billion takeover bid for the computer maker. JPS Textile Group of Greenville, S.C., filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in federal bankruptcy court. The company will seek to restructure $460 million worth of bonds and preferred stock. C&P will introduce a new form of call forwarding in Montgomery and Prince George's counties by July. Priced at $4.50 a month, the service will allow people to have their calls follow them as they move from phone to phone. Bank of Boston reportedly is considering making a bid for the failed Bank of New England, despite earlier signals that Northeast banks might be sidetracked in the bidding process. Bell Atlantic will help Belle Mead International Telephone of Ridgewood, N.J., build and operate a proposed cellular telephone system in Moscow. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Lockheed rejected an offer by its largest shareholder, Harold Simmons, to forgo seeking control of the company in return for three of its 14 board seats. The Chicago Sun-Times will lay off 45 workers and eliminate another 75 jobs through attrition. Other newspapers owned by the newspaper's parent, Sun-Times Co., were not affected. Cineplex Odeon, one of the country's largest movie theater chains, said it finalized a new long-term lending agreement with its bankers. The deal gives Toronto-based Cineplex much-needed breathing space to cope with its large debts and losses. Sony and Castle Rock Entertainment have been talking with Orion Pictures about buying the studio, according to published reports.

REGULATION The SEC formally warned Charles H. Keating Jr. that it may charge him with violating securities law in the sale of $250 million in junk bonds at Lincoln Savings and Loan. The Rhode Island House approved a bailout bill that would return frozen funds to most depositors at 14 closed banks and credit unions.

COURTS Citicorp asked a federal appeals court to reverse a Fed order barring a subsidiary of Citibank Delaware from selling insurance, contending that the Fed was exceeding its authority. Unocal signed a $78 million settlement with California and city governments in the state in a price-fixing lawsuit that goes back 16 years and involves five other oil companies. The settlement would drop Unocal from the lawsuit. Polaroid and Kodak indicated each will appeal a landmark damages award in which Kodak was found liable for infringing on Polaroid's patent for instant photography. Last month, a federal judge trimmed the award by $36 million due to errors in calculating the original judgment. The resulting $873 million award was much lower than Polaroid had been seeking.